Robin Eubanks, trombone
Robin Eubanks is the premier jazz trombonist of his generation.Whether performing with his groups, EB3 or Mental Images, or with the critically acclaimed Dave Holland Quintet and Big Band – with whom he was an original member – Robin is an artist whose impact on audiences has proven powerful and lasting. Robin has recorded seven albums as a leader featuring his original music.
Robin was born to a very musical family: His brother, Kevin Eubanks, is the music director for The Tonight Show and another brother, Duane, plays trumpet in New York. Their mother has been a music educator for more than 30 years; and their Uncle Ray Bryant is a prominent jazz pianist in his own right.
Robin began studying music at the age of eight and continued through college, when he graduated cum laud from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As a student, he studied not only trombone, but also the finer points of Theory, Harmony, Composition and Arranging. Following his graduation, the young trombonist moved to New York City where he began a career that has since yielded an amazing array of collaborations with such notable artists as Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Eddie Palmieri, Sun Ra, Barbra Streisand, The Rolling Stones and Talking Heads –just to name a few. He’s won Grammys for his performances on Michael Brecker’s Wide Angles and Dave Holland’s What Goes Around.
For the last several years, Robin has divided his rigorous performing schedule with an appointment at The Oberlin College Conservatory where he serves as a tenured Professor of Jazz Trombone. In 2002, he won a compositional grant from Chamber Music America, followed by an ASCAP Composer’s grant in 2003. Other musical groups now commission him as a composer, and as with his performing career, his compositional interests are staggeringly diverse. Musically fluent, but also stylistically multilingual, the eclectic composer speaks a variety of musical “languages”. How does he do it? The key appears to be a combination of having a complete command of his craft, but also an innate gift that can sound like a combination of math and magic.
To hear him explain it:
“My compositions can change fluidly from Swing to Funk to Latin to 11/8 or 7/4, without sounding forced or awkward. This allows me to draw upon all of my experiences. I have the freedom to create forms that unite diverse influences into new structures that are organic.”
However it’s done, in addition to his own recordings, his compositions can be heard on several Dave Holland Quintet and Big Band recordings. The Mingus Big Band has also recorded his arrangements. Colleges and universities throughout the United States are performing Robin’s original works and have arranged his music for their ensembles. Other notable commissions include: Cause and Effect, which had its world premier with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra in 2003; string and horn arrangements for Freddie Cole’s recording, This Is Always; Cross Currents for the late great JJ Johnson’s Grammy nominated recording, The Brass Orchestra; and an arrangement of Genesis for McCoy Tyner’s Big Band.
In the intervening years Robin has become not only an eminent musician, composer and performer, but also a popular lecturer and clinician at leading educational institutions throughout the U.S. and abroad.