Doug Robinson Returns to the Concert Stage in “Alone/Together”
By Fredric Dannen
San Miguel de Allende musician Doug Robinson, a much-admired veteran of the local music scene, can point to one particular event in his life when he was ten years old, which set the tone for his impressive career. A local bandleader named Dick Braun visited Robinson’s elementary school in San Diego and demonstrated a wide range of musical instruments: the oboe, violin, double bass, drums, guitar, and piano, among others, by playing all with proficiency. “I walked out of that assembly,” Robinson recalls, “and said to myself, ‘So, that’s what a musician does.’” By then, Robinson was taking piano lessons, but after Braun’s demonstration, he saw no reason to confine himself. “Today I play 16 instruments,” Robinson says. “Some better than others.”
Doug Robinson: Alone/Together
Tue, Oct 13, 7pm
Special guests: Xavier Gibler, Remy Fenoy, Ken Basman, Jesse Moore
Robinson, who is also a composer and arranger, is best known to local residents for his keyboard work, the instrument, he says, on which “I am most needed.” On a typical evening, he can be heard performing on a digital piano with the popular local band, SpyBoyZ. His concerts are relatively infrequent, yet they provide the best showcase for his versatility. At a sold-out concert at the Angela Peralta Theater last March, he played vibraphone, timbales, and bongos, and also sang.
Robinson will mainly be playing the piano at his upcoming concert at the Bellas Artes on October 13 at 7pm. The event will be the eighth installment of the theater’s so-called Steinway series, concerts that showcase the Bellas Artes nine-foot concert grand piano. Like all the Steinway series concerts this year, a quarter of the proceeds will benefit a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the high dropout rate among rural Mexican schoolchildren.
Robinson’s upcoming concert, “Alone/Together,” will consist of original piano compositions and improvisations, interspersed with musical collaborations featuring four guest artists: Remy Fenoy, playing congas and the Cuban tres, a three-string rhythm guitar; singers Jesse Moore and Xavier Gibler; and virtuoso guitarist Ken Basman. Robinson says the concert will cover a wide range of styles, “from funky to intimate.”
Listening to Robinson perform in a theater on a grand piano is a decidedly different experience from, say, hearing him sit in with a rock or jazz band. His 2014 CD of original solo piano compositions, aptly titled “Solo/Piano,” got a rave notice in the San Diego Troubadour, a widely read trade publication for musicians. “Robinson makes a strong musical statement and is able to take his listeners on musical excursions that are sometimes somber, sometimes slightly whimsical, but always intriguing,” reviewer Paul Hormick wrote. “I found myself being drawn in again and again.”
All tickets for “Alone/Together” are 250 pesos, with open seating, and can be purchased at Solutions, Recreo 11; La Conexión, Aldama 3; Los Milagros, Relox 17; or at the door on the evening of the concert. The Miguel Malo Auditorium is on the second floor of the Bellas Artes.