Spike Robinson

Musical Artist

1930 – 2001

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Who was Spike Robinson?

Henry Berthold "Spike" Robinson was a tenor saxophonist. He began playing at age twelve, making recordings with famous jazz and bop musicians on several labels including Discovery, Hep and Concord. However, he sought an engineering degree and followed that profession on a full-time basis for nearly 30 years. In 1981 he returned to recording music.

Beginning on alto saxophone in his early teenage years, Robinson soon discovered that it was hard to make a living playing the kind of music he wanted to play. In 1948 he joined the US Navy as a musician and by 1950 was based in the UK.

He was soon regularly jamming at London's Club Eleven, Downbeat Club and Studio 51 with leading UK beboppers, including Tommy Pollard, Johnny Dankworth and Victor Feldman. He made a few records for Carlo Krahmer's Esquire label but eventually was transferred home and demobilized. Unhappy with the music scene in the Chicago area, he took advantage of the GI Bill to study electronic engineering at university.

For most of the next 30 years he lived and worked in Colorado, eventually taking up music again, this time playing tenor saxophone and working nights at local clubs. A constant musical companion of these times was Dave Grusin. In 1981 Robinson recorded for the first time since his London sessions, which also featured pianist Vic Feldman and bassist Ray Brown. Encouraged to visit the UK by a British fan, in 1984 Robinson began a series of tours which were so successful that he took early retirement from his engineering job to turn to a full-time career in music, appearing with established British jazz musicians such as fellow tenor Dick Morrissey, pianist Bill Le Sage, bassist Alec Dankworth and drummer Bill Eyden, among others.

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Jan 16, 1930
Oct 29, 2001

on July 23, 2013


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