Azure Miles Records ~ the Music of Michael Robinson

Writings about Music by Michael Robinson

 

Overcoming

In the eighties, while working at the Patelson Music House, I made friends with pianist Don Shirley. Visiting with Don in his transplendent Carnegie Hall apartment – our conversations mostly about music typically went on for six hours or so – decorated with his own sublime paintings and stunningly exotic artifacts from all over the globe, not to mention two premiere grand pianos, I was crestfallen to learn how he was originally denied the opportunity to perform classical music in America because of the color of his skin, thus leading to his amalgam of popular music and jazz blended into classical music influences. Duke Ellington wrote his Piano Concerto for Shirley, and when I first heard Don perform his annual recital adjacent to his apartment in the main Carnegie Hall, it was the most magical piano tone I had ever heard, seemingly rising up out of the floor, which had been transformed into a living resonating chamber, rendering African American spirituals through his uncanny transcriptions.

- Michael Robinson, September 2017, Los Angeles

 

© 2017 Michael Robinson All rights reserved

 

Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).