20 years after Reginald Robinson’s emergence as a young, self-taught, against the grain pianist and composer, he has become an internationally recognized pianist, recording artist and educator.
His love for music started in 1984 with his brother Marlando playing Big band jazz records at home and then on to ragtime two years later in 7th grade when a city funded arts program (Urban Gateways) gave an assembly with a small jazz ensemble. The assembly was led by jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis and included in the band other jazz luminaries like Ari Brown. In the middle of the show the group played a sample of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and after hearing it Reginald decided this was the kind of music he wanted to play. Later that year his parents purchased a small electronic keyboard and the following year a real piano. With his parents not being able to afford him a music education, he began to teach himself how to read and write music. This involved self quizzing from music education books, creating his own piano exercises and studying published music scores and recordings.
1992 marked the year Reginald’s professional music career began. He was introduced by fellow musicians to musician Jon Weber who immediately funded Reginald’s first demo called The Strongman. The demo was later used as part of his 1993 Delmark debut release by the same name.
In 1995 Reginald scored new music for “Each One As She May” a play by Frank Galati and that same year received a nomination for best original music at the Joseph Jefferson. In 2003 his music was used as part of “Intimate Apparel” a play by Lynn Nottage which was nominated for best music director at the Beverly Hills/Hollywood Theatre Awards. In 2004, he was awarded the rare and distinguished John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Award for his innovation in ragtime.
Reginald composed music for an independent film by Zeinabu Irene Davis entitled “Compensation” (2000) and with film producer Barbara Allen on a few works; “Paper Trail” (2005), “Morning Due” (2007) and “Chicago’s Black Metropolis” (2010). Reginald has performed as a soloist internationally and has performed as guest artist with Orbert Davis Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and The Chicago Sinfonietta. In addition he has performed with various smaller ensembles such as: Accessible Contemporary Music, Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, Fulcrum Point and the Arts Center Jazz Ensemble. Reginald occasionally leads his own band The Reginald Robinson Jazztet.
In November of 2011 Reginald was featured in a theatrical production called Keep a Song in Your Soul.
© 2009 Reginald R. Robinson. All Rights Reserved.
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