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Chops: Scott Robinson Is Married to His Saxophone

On his new album, the multi-reedist quits his straying ways and commits to tenor

Scott Robinson (photo: Bud Glick)

Has Scott Robinson’s tenor saxophone ever forgiven him for the time when, exhausted after a late gig, he absentmindedly left it on a New Jersey Transit bus?

“I sometimes feel my horn is rebuking me,” Robinson, 60, told me recently by phone, referring to the silver 1924 Conn that has been his partner since he bought it from an antiques dealer in 1975 when he was 16. In the liner notes for his new album, Tenormore (Arbors), Robinson writes, “This old tenor has been around the world with me many times, and we’ve been through a lot of scrapes and jams together.” He does all his own repairs, “soldering this, reinforcing that, replacing pads, patching the metal where it’s nearly worn through, even making my own parts when needed.” (Significant work of this kind was required after that unfortunate NJ Transit incident.)

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Allen Morrison

Allen Morrison is a music journalist, musician, jazz critic, lecturer, and a regular contributor to JazzTimes and 
DownBeat. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, Jazziz, American Songwriter, and Departures. He lectures frequently on jazz history aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. Before becoming a full-time journalist, Allen worked as a music publicist and a pianist. He is working on a book on how musicians and non-musicians hear music. He maintains a blog at