Interview with Local Saxophonist, Lee Robinson

Lee Robinson will be performing live in the Koolkat Café this Thursday, June 22nd from 6pm to 8pm for a special evening of Jazz & Crepes.  He will be joined by his fellow ISKA members, Chris Potter on piano, Eli Naragon on bass, and John Korpiel on drums.  Lee Robinson and ISKA will perform a range of jazz styles including contemporary funk, classical, and orginial compositions. Enjoy delicious, made-to-order, sweet and savory crepes by PGH Crepes food truck from 4pm to 8pm.

Get to know more about Lee in the interview below with Artsmiths managing owner, Kate McGrady.

KM:  Who are some of your most significant musical influences and why?

LR:  My mother trained to sing an operatic style that she used in church gospel choirs as a lead voice.  My father could sound exactly like Nat King Cole singing!

 Jr. Walker was my main influence early on. I get lots of inspiration from Wayne Shorter (sax)  and Santana (electric guitar)! Their musical phrasing is so breathtaking.

KM:  What is your favorite performance memory?

LR:  I have two....

The first:   When I started playing saxophone, my first cover was playing like Monk Higgins, an obscure R&B saxophonist. The group I played with opened for the Five Stair Steps at a local theater. Their hit song was  "Oh Child".   The Monk Higgins tune had a break written in it at the very beginning. I remember our audience cheering and saying "Alright!" as a cool sign of approval immediately after that break!  

The second:  I was performing as guest saxophonist for Tom Reilly's rock group, Band Of Angels. We were to open for Canadian rock group, Bachman Turner Overdrive, at Davis Elkins University. The venue was filled to capacity with 2,500 people in attendance. Fifteen minutes before show time, I was asked by Tom and his manager Geoff Jones to go out on stage and perform a solo opening for them and the entire show. I nervously did that and got an over-the-top appreciative cheering audience approval!   

KM:  Tell us something interesting about a fellow band member.

LR:  John Korpiel, drummer, is a professional engineer, and performed with me as part of a duo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for Distillery Jazz Festival in 2004.

Iska is a Nigerian word [in the Hausa language] that means 'the wind' .

Iska is a Nigerian word [in the Hausa language] that means 'the wind' .

KM:  When you want to relax and unplug what do you do?

LR:  Hike in the woods alone.

KM:  Do you have any interesting hobbies or interests?

LR:  Exotic sports cars. Any body want to buy a Maserati ?

KM:  What is your favorite place to listen to music in Pittsburgh?

LR:  The [New] Hazlett Theater.  The Old Syria Mosque was great, too!