JACOB H. CARRUTHERS FOR INNER CITY STUDIES
Reginald R. Robinson
MacArthur "genius" Award winner Reginald R. Robinson was born and raised in Chicago IL .
He is a pianist/composer of Semi-Classical Music, Ragtime, Latin American and early Jazz & Blues styles. He is also an educator on ragtime music across the U.S.
First musical experiences were listening to his mother and father play records at home of everything from Classical to R&B music. In 1984 he and his brothers Michael & Marlando started making music at home after his 2nd oldest brother Marlando picked up the guitar. |Marlando would have his two brothers accompany him on home made instruments and later keyboards. Marlando opened Reginald's ears to Big Band Music of the late 30's and 40's. The music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman etc.
He became interested in playing Ragtime in 1986 in 7th grade while attending Robert Emmett Elementary School after Urban Gateways (a city funded arts program) visited the school. The program was called From Bach to Bebop featuring jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis with piano accompaniment. The musicians covered many different styles from Beethoven to Miles Davis but Reginald paid close attention when the musicians talked about Ragtime and performed The Entertainer by, Scott Joplin. He had heard this melody coming from the ice cream trucks every summer but had never heard the song played as a serious piece of music before.
After this assembly Reginald went home and searched for any information that spoke about Ragtime in the encyclopedia. He soon found out about the great composer Scott Joplin. Then, asked his mother about getting a piano and for Christmas she purchased a small keyboard in which he began to teach himself how to play Ragtime.
In June of 1987 just before he graduated from 8th grade and his family moved across town, his mother purchased a full 88 note piano from a moving neighbor. Reginald tried to get money for piano lessons but his parents couldn't afford it so, he taught himself how to read and write music from studying out of school music books that were around his home and by comparing note for note ragtime transcriptions to faithful piano roll recordings of the same music. In 1988 he managed to get a job so he paid for a few lessons at The American Conservatory of Music.
In 1992 Reginald met McKinley Olsen while attending a GED program and he introduced Reginald to pianist Jon Weber who immediately helped Reginald record his first demo The Strongman. Reginald at McKinley Olson's request took the demo to owner of Delmark Records Robert G. Koester who immediately signed Reginald.
In September 2004 Reginald received the prestigious John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship Grant. In 2006 Reginald was part of a team that contributed music to the PBS documentary Paper Trail 100 Years of The Chicago Defender, which won a Lisagor award and 3 Emmys Awards.
Artist Website http://www.reginalrobinson.com
Tags:Jazz, Piano, Ragtime
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