Thursday, November 18, 2010



Fans of the L.A. jazz scene no doubt recognize Carol Robbins’ name from her previous playing encounters with many jazz greats. Recently, Robbins completed a project as part of the Chamber Jazz Ensemble in pianist Billy Childs’ second recording featuring this talented group of musicians. This latest work is called Autumn: In Moving Pictures.

The Chamber Jazz Ensemble features Carol Robbins (harp), Larry Koonse (acoustic guitar), Bob Sheppard (saxophones & clarinet), Scott Colley (bass), Brian Blade and Antonio Sanchez (drums), with special feature by the Ying Quartet. The last work by Childs and his ensemble, Lyric won a Grammy.

Inspired by the autumn scenery Childs experienced along the I-95, his new CD transforms a collection of lyrical impressions into an auditory image of fall. Childs and the ensemble masterfully blend musical genres, to create images so impressive you can almost feel and smell the autumn air.

The music is imaginative and lush, giving the listener an experience of autumn’s shifting colors. Carol’s harp, an integral part of the ensemble, provides a seamless undercurrent, shining through during solo work and improvisations. Her interlude on Evan’s Waltz For Debby is quite beautiful – it’s Debby all grown up.

If you are not familiar with Carol’s work, she is a talented musician who has been playing the harp since the age of nine. Carol knew the moment she touched the harp that it was to be her instrument. To date, Carol has recorded three CDs under the Jazzcats label, as well as recording with many jazz greats. One of her proudest achievements is the time spent studying under legendary jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby, until Dorothy’s death in 1984.

In September, 2010, Billy Childs spoke about Carol in an article about his new recording with Down Beat Magazine, saying “You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who does what Carol does on the harp. She has an incredible harmonic knowledge as well as great rhythm and time."

While Childs’ masterful style of composition is evident in the new recording, it's clear one of the reasons the arrangements come forth so well is due in part to his understanding and trust in each musician and their instrument. Carol, who has been part of the ensemble since its inception back in 2000, is given contributor’s credit on the CD and many pieces include improve by she and other members of the ensemble.

Billy Childs and the Jazz Chamber Ensemble (featuring Carol Robbins!) will perform November 20, 2010 at Vitello's Restaurant in Studio City 

Thank you Carol, for your beautiful harp on this recent project.

December 2, 2010 Update: The Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble is nominated for a Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and Billy Childs for Best Instrumental Composition for "The Path Among The Trees", a track from Autumn In Moving Pictures - Jazz Chamber Music, Volume 2. Congratulations  to all!

Listen to  Raindrop Patterns.

Carol Robbins
Jazzcats Productions
ArtShare - (a fan funded projects site)
DownBeat Magazine

Musicians featured on this recording:
Ying Quartet

All images used by permission

1 comment:

Megan said...

Can't wait to hear this project!