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recent reviews for I Have Known Mountains - 

If jazz has an accessibility problem, nobody bothered to tell Henry Robinett.” Dan Bilawsky - allaboutjazz.com 

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Henry Robinett: I Have Known Mountains

By DAN BILAWSKY 
Published: April 25, 2016
This fifth release from guitarist Henry Robinett has more than its fair share of hook-laden numbers, deep rivers, tributes, and positive musical offerings. It's a highly personal statement that serves as a journal of sorts, with Robinett stepping forward to musically reflect on a variety of topics and people near and dear to his heart. 


The dozen pieces that appear here make it plainly clear that Robinett is a man who places a high premium on clarity. His well-thought-out messages, be they focused on tragedy, love, or life's winding road(s), manage to appeal to the ear. If jazz has an accessibility problem, nobody bothered to tell Henry Robinett. 

This first two numbers on the program—the chipper "Change," dedicated to Robinett's wife, and the upbeat "Crush"—are of a piece. Both are catchy, built on relatively simple foundations and full of instantly welcoming ideas. But they don't provide a complete picture of who Robinett really is. The listener needs to see this one through in order to fully appreciate his talents. One only need encounter the life-affirming "Sprung," for example, to realize that there's more to this guitarist-composer than meets the eye early on. A delightfully hip unison line—a signature for the song—sets things in motion, drummer Tom Brechtlein brilliantly balances low dynamics and high intensity with his driving ride, and Robinett and pianist Joe Gilman each deliver compelling solos that manage to be both fluid and feisty. Pair that one with "Zebra Crossing," a charged straight-ahead offering dedicated to the great Chick Corea, and you start to realize that there's some real meat on the bones here. 

Other album highlights include the tropically-infused "What If I Go Sailing?," the seductive "Passing Open Windows," the triumphant "American Rivers," and the lone cover on the program—a vocals-enhanced, album-ending take on Jim Pepper's "Witchi-Tai-To." Robinett walks the fine line that separates the concepts of leader-driven centrality and self-indulgence on this date, rarely crossing into the latter territory, and he has much to say when he takes to the spotlight. He may be a man who's known mountains in his life, but he's managed to scale them to reach the summit(s).


Track Listing: Change; Crush; My Amigo; I Have Known Mountains; Maybe Tuesday; What If I Go Sailing; Passing Open Windows; Sprung; When Love Returns; Zebra Crossing; American Rivers; Witchi-Tai-To.

Personnel: Henry Robinett: guitar, vocals; Joe Gilman: piano; Tom Brechtlein: drums; Joshua Thurston-Milgrom: acoustic bass; Rob Lemas: electric bass; Dominic Edward Garcia: congas, timbales.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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Music Review: Henry Robinett – ‘I Have Known Mountains’

Posted by: Jack Goodstein 19 days ago in Album ReviewsJazzMusicMusic GenresReviews music 0 Comments

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Melody is the key to I Have Known Mountains, the latest release from guitarist Henry Robinett. He fronts a sextet featuring Joe Gilman on piano, Tom Brechtlein on drums, Joshua Thurston-Milgrom on acoustic bass, Rob Lemas on electric bass, and Dominic Edward Garcia on congas and timbales. On this album, Robinett works through a program of a dozen tunes, 11 original compositions and one final piece written by Jim Pepper—over an hour and 15 minutes of fine listening.

Each song, Robinett points out, is “a short, personal story. A snippet of life.” For some, his song notes actually provide the essence of the story. “Passing Open Windows,” he explains, is “inspired by a vision of a young princess and a soldier, Argentinian perhaps.” They pass each other on opposite sides of an upstairs window each day; “they watch each other and almost dance between windows but never meet.”

The dance and their yearning is embodied in the music. “American Rivers,” on the other hand, paints a vision of what the country was like before it was settled by the early pioneers. It speaks to the “hope and promise of a new country.” The album’s title song is about the personal struggles people need to overcome, the mountains individuals have to climb.

Other cuts emphasize the musician’s personal investment in the music – an investment that is manifested in its melodic beauty – in that they are dedicated to friends and loved ones. “Change” goes out to his wife, “My Amigo” and “What If I Go Sailing?” go out to friends who have passed away, and “Zebra Crossing” is for Chick Corea.

“Witchi-Tai-To,” the Jim Pepper song which closes the album, adds an intriguing vocal element to the mix, and in some sense seems something of an outlier. Pepper is perhaps best known for combining Native American themes with jazz. Robinett says he thought the song would provide a “fitting” close to the album, but he doesn’t explain why. Outlier or not, the tune adds an interesting and almost exotic element to what is a very fine album of hugely listenable jazz.

 

NEFERTITI HENRY ROBINETT/I Have Known Mountains: A killer set of jazz guitar work that fools you into thinking it's a dandy set of smooth jazz before you realize that it's so much more. With the chops on this set running so deep and so long, there's no room for error--even if they were just to phone it in (which they don't!). Tasty stuff that works throughout and get you into a summer frame of mind with ease. Check it out. 12615 

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A Triumph. 5 Stars  by Greg Erba - Dec 16, 2015 iTunes

 There are many things at play here in this fantastic new album by Jazz Guitarist Henry Robinett... but above all else, Mr. Robinett reveals himself again to be a pure melodist. None of all the virtuosic playing, interactive rhythms, and smart arranging ever overshadow this rare gift. Take in the expansive melodic landscape of the ambitious original, "American Rivers"... a track that clocks in at over 11 minutes. Much of what Henry Robinett has represented for many years as an artist and jazz guitarist is here: crystalline jazz guitar lines in juxtaposition with singing, distorted guitar runs.., soaring arranging.., driving syncopated rhythm.., but above all else, deep melodies that penetrate and inspire. One of many songs that you may very well find yourself humming long after listening. But take note: These are not the ear worms of top-40 pop, but rather mini-masterpieces that transcend even the virtuosic artistic intellect that permeates Mr. Robinett's music. This is a triumphant addition to the musical catalog of Henry Robinett, who to this day continues to hold the torch for original jazz in Sacramento.

 The Jazz Writer

 

I've had some press over the years

Album Due In Mid June, Valley Music News . . . 

Jazziz cover and article

Downbeat Fours Star Review

Electronic Musician Fortress Rising Article.

Valley Music News Fortresses Fall

Sacramento News and Review Articles

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