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Jazz saxophonist Jason Robinson finds his influences in Los Angeles

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Jason Robinson From Sonoma to San Diego, saxophonist and Amherst College professor Jason Robinson has forged strong ties with creative improvisers across California.

Robinson, who divides his time between San Diego and Massachusetts, has found a deep well of inspiration within Los Angeles' far-flung scene. Robinson is probably best known to Angelenos through performances at the Temple Bar, Roxy, Troubadour and House of Blues in West Hollywood with various reggae and funk bands.

But he's also been a regular presence in jazz and new music settings, playing the Hollywood incarnation of Rocco and the now defunct Monday night “line space line" series organized by Jeremy Drake and Chris Heenan at Silver Lake's Salvation Theater. Robinson performs this weekend with the cooperative quartet Cosmologic at Eagle Rock's Center for the Arts Sunday Evening Music Series.

He cites several Southland icons as seminal influences, particularly multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia and trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith ("His artistic intensity remains a beacon of inspiration for me," Robinson says. “Even the way he plays one note.") Trumpeter and computer musician Jeff Kaiser, long based in Ventura, helped shape Robinson's approach to working with electroacoustic music software, which the saxophonist artfully employs on his recent solo session “Cerberus Reigning." But considering Robinson's commitment to bypassing music industry infrastructure to bring unmediated music directly to underexposed communities, his most profound mentor might be the late, lamented pianist, composer and tireless creative force Horace Tapscott, a musician he never actually met.

“I continue to be inspired by Horace Tapscott and his legacy in Los Angeles," Robinson says. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for creative artists who direct much of their energy towards community support and enrichment, like the AACM in Chicago and New York, Tapscott's UGMAA, and Kamau Daaood at the World Stage in Leimert Park, who have paved the way for a new kind of community-centric creative music and arts."


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