Writings About Music

Before His Time

It certainly is amazing how versatile and mesmerizing the saxophone is. Not everyone knows how its inventor, Adolphe Sax, envisioned a new instrument combining the flexibility of woodwinds with the power of brass instruments. There was also a thought of saxophones replacing the string instruments of the orchestra (!); timbres and textures they actually may approximate by using a certain vibrato.

Sadly, Sax didn’t live to experience the full power and influence of the saxophone when it became arguably the most significant musical instrument of the twentieth century; the spearhead of American jazz culminating with musicians including Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Lee Konitz and Jackie McLean. Those familiar with my writings know how I believe modern jazz superseded European classical music as the primary “serious music” of the Western Hemisphere from roughly the mid-forties through the mid-sixties with some significant overlapping. This likely would not have been possible without Sax’s invention, which did in fact succeed in possessing the finest qualities of woodwinds and brass and then some. And Sax didn’t even get to hear the exquisite use of various saxophones in Bolero by Maurice Ravel!

While I certainly am not an inventor of hardware or software, I have used available technological instruments in unique ways, naming my preferred combination the Meruvina. And the saxophone has absolutely been the instrumental medium most influential on my musical development, as articulated by the musicians listed above and others. Together with American jazz, Indian classical music has exerted the most powerful influence upon my compositional designs. Given this orientation, it's entirely natural that my music sounds as if it is improvised, which is my intention, reflecting the essential nature of both American jazz and Indian classical music. At the same time, with all of my music fully notated, I endeavor for each composition to possess it's own individual arc, cohesiveness, and uniqueness of being.

There is a new album coming soon, titled Lilac Dawn that I am very excited about.

- Michael Robinson, January 2017, Los Angeles


© 2017 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer, programmer, jazz pianist, and musicologist. His 162 albums include 149 albums for meruvina and 13 albums of piano improvisations. He has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University.