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Scott Robinson: Jazz Ambassador

After two decades on the jazz scene, Scott Robinson’s gee-whiz factor is well established. By now everyone knows that he plays an astonishing array of reed and brass instruments. The evidence of these albums is that Robinson’s stylistic flexibility and creativity are as impressive as his arsenal of axes.

Seeing a list of Armstrong titles might lead a listener to expect a traditional revivalist collection. That would be a mistake. Robinson takes advantage of the range and adaptability of Armstrong’s compositions. Incisive on baritone saxophone, he converts the 76-year-old “Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya” into a bebop romp with the headlong thrust of pieces like “Donna Lee” and “Little Willie Leaps.” He plays euphonium with mellowness and relaxation in “Someday You’ll Be Sorry”-as a samba. On tenor saxophone, he takes an Eddie Harris/Les McCann approach to “Gutbucket Blues.” On “Cornet Chop Suey,” the echo cornet allows Robinson to exchange muted and open-horn phrases with himself in an impressive mainstream solo whose quality Larry Ham matches on piano.

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