Jazz Harpist Carol Robbins WRTI Interview Saturday
January 20, 2006 To: Listings/Critics/Features From: JAZZ PROMO SERVICES Press Contact: JIM EIGO, firstname.lastname@example.org Tune in to WRTI to listen to Jazz Harpist Carol Robbins hour long interview with Jill Pasternak Saturday at 11:30 AM eastern time. It can be heard on the web at http://www.wrti.org and will be on the web in the archives. The station is in Philadelphia, PA
Check out the new CD....
Carol Robbins Jazz Play" Jazzcats-105 Street Date: February 14, 2006
Carol Robbins: Harp, Larry Koonse: Guitar, Bob Sheppard: Tenor/ soprano sax, Steve Huffsteter: Trumpet/flugal horn, Darek Oles: bass, Tim pleasant: Drums Jazz harpists are a rare breed and Carol Robbins proves that she is one of the finest on her new CD Jazz Play". Robbins is an artist who can swing with authority and who possesses a unique sense of harmonic sophistication. Her alternately percussive and soulful playing never compromises the inherent beauty of her instrument. The result is a cool style, rich with lyricism and elegance. Her music is interpreted and enhanced by the abilities of guitarist Larry Koonse, trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Tim Pleasant. All players are given a chance to showcase their individual voices through solos, counter melodies and interplay. Robbins, a student of the late Dorothy Ashby, grew up listening to the music of such artists as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter and has been heavily influenced by the lush harmonies of pianist Bill Evans. Her seven compositions draw on her study of traditional jazz and also invoke the work of contemporary jazz players. The remaining selections are comprised of standards including Jerome Kern's I'm Old Fashioned" and Bobby Troup's The Meaning of the Blues". Buddy's Bite", written for the CD's producer Buddy Halligan, is an amusing, mischievous tune reminiscent of the writing of Horace Silver. The track starts with a Latin rhythm set up by drummer Pleasant and then gets into a straight-ahead groove. Huffsteter's hip trumpet solo is followed by a witty, playful chorus on harp. Guitarist Koonse has the last solo played with his characteristic linear and harmonic genius. Antonio Carlos Jobim's standard O Grande Amor" is taken at a bright tempo with Koonse setting up the rhythm on nylon string acoustic guitar for the harp and drums. Darek Oles adds his authoritative bass under the first solo beautifully played by guitar. The harp takes the second solo adeptly navigating the intricate harmonic structure. The ending features playful back and forth improvisation between harp and guitar. Still Light", a peaceful, contemplative ballad written by Robbins, features Steve Huffsteter's soulful flugal horn heard on the melody and the first solo. The track has a pensive, melodic bass solo followed by a richly chorded one on harp. Guitar is tacit. Koonse rejoins the group for Bobby Troup's" The Meaning of the Blues". This gorgeous song's haunting and sultry treatment has sensual harp and guitar solos. Darcy's Waltz" brings in the assured voice of tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard for the first time. He plays a strong chorus on this lilting jazz waltz followed by a graceful improvisation on harp. With the rhythm section briefly dropping out, Robbins supports Koonse' intricate solo, foreshadowing additional guitar/harp collaborations on the disc. Tangier" is the most modal and contemporary original on the disc. Soprano sax and trumpet harmonize the melody with rhythmic, chordal answers from the harp. Robbins takes an extensive solo using the huge range of her instrument and employing numerous harp techniques. This solo is followed by a burning improvisation on sax ending with trumpet, sax and harp improvising over the cooking, insistent beat of the rhythm section. Bob Sheppard is given a beautiful vehicle for his inventive virtuosity in the ballad Emilia". He plays an evocative tenor solo with expression and sensitivity. This lovely, slightly nostalgic tune, named for Robbins' Italian-American mother, also has a harmonically rich harp solo played with great feeling. Guitar sits this one out. Johnny Mandel's Don't Look Back" is one of two harp/guitar duos on the disc. The leader plays a rubato chorus on solo harp eventually setting up a lazy waltz tempo. Koonse comes in playing electric guitar and they proceed to engage in a musical dialogue filled with harmonic and rhythmic interplay. This one on one musical conversation displays a rare artistic blend and connection. The Cribbler" is a cool, mysterious minor blues written by Robbins. Her arrangement has bassist Oles introducing the tune playing a riff, which recurs throughout the track. The melody is harmonized on muted trumpet and tenor sax with Sheppard taking a smooth and grooving tenor solo. Robbins plays a harp chorus replete with bended notes and glissandi. Tenor sax and harp share a gentle, musical dialogue on John Lewis' jazz waltz Skating in Central Park". The melody is shyly bounced back and forth between the two - Sheppard's gorgeous, sweet sound reminiscent of a modern-day Stan Getz. Bassist Oles' melodic solo is played with feeling and grace. With beautiful tenor and harp solos, a delicate dialogue is continued throughout the tune. Original Sollevare", is an upbeat, optimistic sounding bossa. Interplay between harp and guitar is constant throughout, with the bass and drums providing a solid rhythmic backdrop. Jerome Kern's I'm Old Fashioned" begins with an expansive rubato harp solo, the lush harmonies sounding particularly appealing on the instrument. Robbins sets up the time and is joined by Sheppard on soprano sax along with the rhythm section. All players on this track are featured with Oles and drummer Pleasant displaying a close bond as they trade solos. The final selection on the CD is Luiz Bonfa's Sambolero" played as a harp/guitar duo. Robbins plays a short intro on solo harp and is soon joined by the guitar. The track is a delicate, respectful conversation between Koonse and Robbins and a simple, refined coda for the project. The harp is arguably the most difficult instrument in the orchestra, especially in jazz improvisation, where instant decisions demand complicated pedal work. On Jazz Play" Carol Robbins makes this daunting task seem effortless. Artist Website: www.carolrobbins.net