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Doug Robinson solo (sort of)

By Doug Robinson

Until I look in the mirror, it seems impossible to me that I’ve been composing music for over 45 years. But I had to face facts when I was selecting themes for my new album, solo/piano, and was able to reach all the way back to 1967 for inspiration.

Doug Robinson
With special guests Jimena Giménez Cacho (violincello) and Mauro Ledesma (piano)
Wed, Oct 9, 8pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6
Tickets available at St. Paul’s Church and La Conexión
150 pesos (200 pesos first four rows)

Creating a CD without other musicians has been something of a revelation—the themes, both old and new, had to stand on their own as compositions without a lot of bells and whistles. Happily, the project has already received enthusiastic reviews (see below), which is gratifying because playing solo was such an alien experience for me. Feeling encouraged, I’ve decided to take my solo piano show on the road. So on Wednesday, October 9 at 8pm, I will perform some of the music as well as premiering four brand new pieces on the trusty Steinway at St Paul’s.

If you’ve ever seen me perform around town, it was probably with one of my local bands, Mo’ Ritmo or Medianoche. So it might come as a surprise that I’ll be flying mostly solo for this concert. In fact, while most of the concert will be just piano, I will be getting a little help from a couple of extremely talented friends.

My first special guest is violoncellist Jimena Giménez Cacho, a truly remarkable musician who is equally comfortable playing several different styles of music. Her resumé is longer than this article, but highlights include studying in Spain, Germany and France as well as performing in orchestras, chamber music groups and as a soloist around the world.

You might remember when Tim Hazell and I presented “A Forest of Americas” back in 2007, which featured a stunning young cellist. That suite was my maiden voyage of composing for the cello, and ever since then I’ve felt a special connection to the instrument. As a fan of Jimena’s music, I love the depth of emotion that she brings to the stage, so I’m equally honored and intrigued that we will be performing three of my compositions together at the concert.

My other special guest star is the outstanding classical pianist Mauro Ledesma. Mauro has performed in the finest concert halls of Mexico as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. He is also one of those musicians who consistently dedicates a large part of his time to teaching young players. A composer and arranger himself, his name should be familiar with San Miguel audiences since he works closely with the Chamber Music Festival, Opera San Miguel, Pro Musica, and San Miguel Cantador.

Because I am a composer who is also a piano player, the odds of hearing another pianist interpret my compositions are slim. However, I am a lucky guy—last year I had the honor of having Ken Bichel play one of my pieces in a private concert, and now on October 9, Mauro will perform two for you…in fact, depending on how we feel, it might be more like two and a half!

Lately I’ve been practicing in a beautiful house atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific coast of Mexico (and composing new work such as “Luis and Brigitte,” “OM,” and “Waltz For Punta Negra,” which Jimena and I will premiere on the 9th).

I could describe the music, but I’d rather share what others are saying. JAZZIZ Magazine gave the solo piano album a great review and featured one of the tracks on their own Summer Sampler CD (along with Bobby McFerrin and the late, great George Duke). Here’s what they said:

“While Robinson (who has lived in Mexico for almost a decade now) has technical facility to spare, feeling is primary in his music on the deeply personal-sounding release solo/piano on “Act As If Music.” The tracks brim with emotion inspired by the events of his life, from the most joyous to the most devastating.”

And finally, jazz legend Peter Erskine’s name should be familiar to people who have listened to Weather Report, Diana Krall, Steely Dan, Stan Kenton and many others. I’ve had a chance to work with Peter a few times, but he’d never reviewed one of my albums until now: “With this music, Doug redefines the unique musical language he brought with him when he relocated from California to Mexico. His new environment has provided him with great inspiration, and he employs new colors from this palette with intelligence and charm. He writes from the heart.”

There is not much I can add to these kind and beautiful words, except to say that I hope you will join me for my only San Miguel concert performance in 2013. St. Paul’s is an especially intimate place to enjoy music like this. Seating is limited as usual, so please get your tickets now!


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