Robin Eubanks is the premier jazz trombonist of his generation.
Whether performing with his groups, Mental Images or EB3 and with the critically acclaimed Dave Holland Quintet and Big Band –with whom he was an original member- Robin is an artist whose impact on audiences has proven powerful and lasting.
Robin was born to a very musical family: His brother, Kevin Eubanks, was the music director for The Tonight Show and currently performs the same role for the Jay Leno Show; their mother is a music educator, and she has been so for more than 30 years; and their Uncle Ray Bryant is a prominent jazz pianist in his own right.
Robin’s musical education began at the age of eight and continued through college, when he graduated cum laud from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As a student, he studied not only trombone, but also the finer points of Theory, Harmony, Composition and Arranging. Following his graduation, the young trombonist moved to New York City where he began a career that has since yielded an amazing array of collaborations with such notable artists as Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Eddie Palmieri, Sun Ra, Barbra Streisand, The Rolling Stones and Talking Heads –just to name a few. He’s won Grammys for his performances on Michael Brecker’s Wide Angles and Dave Holland’s What Goes Around.
Robin founded his own band, Mental Images, ten years ago, and has since has recorded six albums of original music with the group. In 2002, he won a compositional grant from Chamber Music America, followed by an ASCAP Composer’s grant in 2003. Other musical groups now commission him so often that Robin is in as much demand today as a composer as he is as a performer. And as with his performing career, his compositional interests are staggeringly diverse. Musically fluent, but also stylistically multilingual, the eclectic composer speaks a variety of musical “languages”. How does he do it? The key appears to be a combination of having a complete command of his craft, but also an innate gift that can sound like a combination of math and magic.
To hear him explain it:
“My compositions can change fluidly from Swing to Funk to Latin to 11/8 or 7/4, without sounding forced or awkward. This allows me to draw upon all of my experiences. I have the freedom to create forms that unite diverse influences into new structures that are organic.”
However it’s done, Robin’s compositions and arrangements can be heard performed by The Mingus Big Band and Orchestra. His compositions have also been recoded on several of the Dave Holland Quintet and Big Band albums. In addition, colleges and universities throughout the United States are performing Robin’s original works and have arranged his music for their ensembles.
Other notable commissions include: Cause and Effect, which had its world premier with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra in 2003; string and horn arrangements for Freddie Cole‘s recording, This Is Always; Cross Currents for the late JJ Johnson’s Grammy nominated recording, The Brass Orchestra; and an arrangement of Genesis for McCoy Tyner's Big Band.
And if that were not enough, in the intervening years, Robin has become not only an eminent musician, composer and performer, but also a popular lecturer and clinician at leading educational institutions throughout the U.S. and abroad. For the last several years, Robin has divided his rigorous performing schedule with an appointment at The Oberlin College Conservatory where he serves as a tenured Professor of Jazz Trombone.