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Robinson, Perry (Morris)

Robinson, Perry (Morris)

Robinson, Perry (Morris) , jazz clarinetist; b. N.Y., Sept. 17, 1938. His father, Earl Robinson , composed “Joe Hill,” “The House I Live In,” “Black and White” (a hit for the rock band Three Dog Night), and “Ballad for Americans.” His family moved to Los Angeles when he was five, and he started on clarinet at nine, studying with Kalman Bloch of the Los Angeles Phil; his father took him to jazz concerts and he became interested in Benny Goodman. He returned to N.Y. at age 12 and attended the H.S. of Music and Art (1952–56), where he played saxophone and clarinet and jammed with Pete LaRoca, George Braith, and others. He first heard Buddy DeFranco and became influenced by Tony Scott (with whom he would later informally study), Pee Wee Russell, Sonny Rollins, and Charlie Parker. He went to the Manhattan School of Music for a year after high school, and studied with Ernie Simon of the Mannes School of Music. Through the 1960s, he played with Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, and Gunter Hampel’s Galaxie Dream Band, Carla Bley, and Charlie Haden’s first Liberation Orch. In 1973–75, Robinson was involved in the Darius Brubeck group, which came to be engulfed in the larger “Two Generations of Brubeck” ensemble with Dave, Chris and Dan Brubeck as well. During the 1980s, he led the Pipe Dreams band, which featured two vocalists, clarinet, and guitar. His mid-1990s ensemble is known as the Space-Time Swing Band, which originally included Mark Whitecage and swing drummer/singer Frankie Fame and later featured Steve Swell and drummer Lou Grassi. He also joined a klezmer band in Amsterdam, Klezmokum, headed by Burton Greene which performed at the Knitting Factory in N.Y. in 1998. A clarinet concerto written for Robinson was premiered in 1985 with the composer, Gary Schneider, leading the Hoboken Chamber Orch. (now the Hudson Chamber Orch.); it has subsequently been performed several times.


Funk Dumpling (1962); The Traveler (1977); Kundalini (1978); Nightmare island (1988); Call to the Stars (1990). H. GRIMES : The Call (1965). A. SHEPP : Mama Too Tight (1966). C. HADEN : Liberation Music Orch. (1970). JAZZ COMPOSERS ORCH. : Escalator Over the Hill (1971); Spirits (1971); Angel (1972); Broadway/Folksong (1972); I Love Being with You (1972); European Concert (c. 1973); Out from Under (1974); Journey to the Song Within (1974); Celebrations (1974); Cosmic Dancer (c. 1975); Enfant Terrible (1975); Transformation (1976); Birdfree (1976); That Came Down on Me (1978); All Is Real (1978); All the Things You Could Be If Charles Mingus Was Your Daddy (1980); Life on This Planet (1981); Jubilation (1983); Fresh Heat (1985); Celestial Glory (1991); Brubecks: Two Generations of Brubeck (1973); Brother, the Great Spirit Made Us All (1974); INTERface: Poum! (c. 1974); Live at Environ (1977). CLARINET SUMMIT : You Better Fly Away (1979). J. FISCHER AND P. ROBINSON : Live in Eastern Europe (1981); Licorice Factory (1985). E. ROBINSON : Alive and Well (c. 1986). R.ANDERSON : It Just So Happens (1987). GERMAN CLARINET DUO : Materialized Perception (1991). KLEZMOKUM : Jew-azzic Park (1994).

—Michael Fitzgerald

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