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July/August 2006

Lenny Robinson
Songs I Like to Play
For the Record

This Baltimore native showcases a wide range of drumming styles on this collection of tunes from the Great American Jazz Songbook. Alongside pianist Andrew Adair and bassist Gavin Fallow, Robinson flaunts some slick brushwork on a jaunty rendition of “Close Your Eyes” and swings fervently on a blazing interpretation of Cole Porter’s “From This Moment On,” which also features an extended solo showcase by the drummer. The trio’s clever arrangement of Richard Rogers’ “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” shifts nimbly from 5/4 to 4/4 time and includes a whirlwind solo by Robinson at the tag.

On a gentle rendition of Richard Rodgers’ crystalline ballad “Easy to Remember,” with Bob Butta on piano, Robinson supplies some sublime accompaniment with brushes. And he further demonstrates his creativity on Bobby Hutcherson’s waltz-time classic “Little B’s Poem,” which includes his most melodic and dynamic drum solo of the session. For a change of pace, Robinson overdubs marimba on a novel arrangement of Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Porkpie Hat.” And the trio closes out this satisfying session on a soulful note with Ornette Coleman’s bluesy “The Turnaround,” underscored by the seasoned drummer’s hip sense of time displacement and interspersed with his flurries on the kit. Highly recommended.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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