Writings about Music

Couldn't Do

Michael Jordan guarding Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

"I couldn't do what Michael did, Michael couldn't do what I did."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comparing Michael Jordan and himself recalls the vast stylistic differences between Lee Konitz and Charlie Parker.

Lee once told me out of the blue how music genius occurs when someone being unable to copy invents something new instead.

Bob Longhi, number seven, with Suffield Academy Basketball

Bob Longhi, captain and number seven for Suffield Academy Basketball, ace at pool and poker, and a business genius, introduced me to his close friends Karem Abdul-Jabbar, Don Nelson and George Harrison. Once part owner of his favorite Golden State Warriors, a team he had a fervent passion for, I wish he had seen them become legendary champions more recently.

Thelonious Monk

David Amram confiding how his friend Thelonious Monk said being able to see the tones before you was a uniquely cool part of piano playing made a deep impression, part of why I became a jazz pianist.

I once spied Monk on a crowded, adagio tempo Long Island highway in a station wagon he was driving right alongside my sedan! He appeared very serious, intense and focused, lost in thought.

Seiji Ozawa with his teacher Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein hit a grand slam with his West Side Story, the pervasive jazz flavor defining the work coming from his friend, Lee Konitz, including naming one of the immortal songs, Cool, an allusion to the alto saxophonist's innovative sound and style.

Night and Day sheet music

Night and Day by Cole Porter and Don't You Worry 'bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder boast extremely beautiful chromatic melodic movement, the former spanning a major sixth in said passage, the latter a tritone. All the lyrics are great, too, of course!

- Michael Robinson, January 2023, Maui


© 2023 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer, programmer, jazz pianist and musicologist. His 198 albums include 151 albums for meruvina and 47 albums of piano improvisations. Robinson has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University Long Beach and Dominguez Hills.