Writings about Music

Musicians and Rooster

Musicians and Rooster (arranged and photographed by Michael Robinson)

I love these musicians and rooster together with their elemental innocence, purity and explorative imagination portrayed so gracefully and colorfully.

The boy is playing a double bass, while the girl is playing a tuba. The bowed instrument I've used the most in my music is a kemanche, while the brass instrument most prevalent in my work is the trumpet. A rooster has appeared in my oeuvre as well in the form of a composition title.

Snow Leopard Meadow features the bowed kemanche


Luminous Realms features the trumpet


Year of the Rooster appears on the Fire Monkey album

Just recently I've come to appreciate more deeply both the singing and trumpet playing of Louis Armstrong, including how he's the only artist featured twice in my recent Jazz Jugalbandis after initially having Chet Baker with Dizzy Gillespie for my trumpet entry.

Jascha Heifetz was the first bowed instrument artist who hypnotized me, playing the violin, of course. My music composition mentor, Leonard Altman, enjoyed telling the story of how he used to play table tennis with Jascha.

In terms of brass instruments - here comes my personal Kind of Blue story - I was so mesmerized by Miles Davis soloing on Blue and Green and Flamenco Sketches over and over, joined by John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Jimmy Cobb, Paul Chambers, and Cannonball Adderley, after first being introduced to the Kind of Blue album the summer after graduating from high school, I only realized it had become dawn, the night having vanished, upon noticing it was light outside, a truly mystical sensation experiencing music transcending time.

Lee Morgan and Donald Byrd have thrilled me with their trumpet playing alongside John Coltrane, Lee as well with Jackie McLean.

It was a trumpet player, Rollan Masciarelli, who baptized me in the waters of jazz, introducing me to the music of Lester Young first, followed by his follower, Charlie Parker.

And it was a double bassist, Reggie Johnson, who first noticed a new musical pathway for me to explore for my life's work.

- Michael Robinson, August 2021, Los Angeles


© 2021 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and musicologist who has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University. His 155 albums include 148 albums for Meruvina and 7 albums of piano improvisations.