Jim Robitaille Group
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Jim Robitaille Group

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"Cd Review"

What Robitaille has done with To Music is release a remarkable album of modern post-bop. Robitaille is obviously his own man. Pianist Matt Richard is a strong soloist and even better accompanist, with shades of Richie Beirach. Bassist Dave Zinno and drummer Chris Poudrier anchor things and generate a sense of intensity without overplaying. A front runner for debut of the year.
- John Kelman - jazzviews.uk

"Cd Review"

Jim Robitaille has piled up so many awards in such a short amount of time recently that it’s a wonder that his name isn’t better known beyond New England where his education took place and where his career took root. After all, talent like Jacky Terrasson, Joey DeFrancesco and Seamus Blake have moved into jazz careers after placing in the Thelonious Monk competition. Robitaille won first place in the Great American Song Contest for his composition, “Miro,” and “Arthur C” placed in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition. Just as intriguing as Robitaille’s writing, though, is his playing, ever in control of his own material and with confident and engaging effect on To Music. What’s more, he is joined by superb musicians who dig into the material with equal determination and fluidity. Dave Liebman, in particular, adds a distinctive voice to the recording, mostly on soprano sax, that, like all the others on To Music, merges into, in the end, a single voice attaining the music of Robitaille’s imagination.
Using complex compositional devices, the ease with which the quintet brings to the tunes belies their otherwise difficult nature for performance. “Hypnotic Nights,” for example, creates a 6/8 foundation for which pianist Matt Richard and bassist Dave Zinno create an alternative feel by playing “Mission Impossible”-like lines under Robitaille’s and Liebman’s fluid melodic exposition. The waltz “Miro,” though slower, paints a portrait of hues of varying intensity and richness as Robitaille uses dynamics for subtle and superb effect, even single notes swelling into a bell-curve-like shapes as the entire chorus builds unsuspectingly in a slow climb before the falloff into relative quietude. Just as fulfilling through the complexity of simplicity is Robitaille’s leisurely acoustic guitar performance of “Adagio,” derived from his classical music studies and made successful by his warmth of timbre and the carefully chosen half notes of Zinno’s bass in support of the theme before taking a solo of his own.
Then, perhaps paying tribute to John Scofield’s influence, Robitaille sets up his own jazz jam on “West End Strut,” full of sassiness and wailing and winding lines seemingly disconnected from the meter—but not really. “Arthur C” emerges as an engaging ballad of medium tempo, certainly a showcase for Liebman as he maximizes the potential of the composition along the lines of “Naima,” consisting as it does of descending modulations before settling into the root chord.
In Music is full of equally glittering gems awaiting discovery from the beauty of Robitaille’s creations as uncovered by his quintet. It’s a CD that can be replayed without a loss of interest as new facets come to light that weren’t apparent at the first listen.

- Don Williamson - Jazz Review

"To Music Cd Review"

With catchy melodies, sophisticated arrangements, and a guitarist with the skills to bring it all together, The Jim Robitaille Group's debut To Music is familiar but also has its own identity. - Jazz Improv Magazine by Mark F. Turner

"Thelonious Monk Award Performance Review"

"Boston-based guitarist Jim Robitaille led a band drawn from the Monk Institute students in an impressive performance of his award winning "Arthur C," a composition dedicated to Arthur C. Clarke. As winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition, Robitaille received a $10.000 grant. like a cross between "Naima" and a Joe Henderson tune, Robitaille's tune indeed sounded like something jazz players would opt to play, as opposed to some of the more idiosyncratic winners in years past."

- JazzTimes Magazine - Lee Mergner

"CD Review of "To Music""

Track Listing: Freedom Waltz, Arthur C, Parallels, Adagio, West End Strut, Hypnotic Nights, Miro, Yesterdays, Lost and Found

Personnel: Jim Robitaille--guitar; Dave Liebman--tenor and soprano saxes; Matt Richard--piano; Dave Zinno--bass; Chris Poudrier--drums

CD Review
Just about every new jazz guitarist who comes down the road cites Wes Montgomery as an influence. For once, on Jim Robitaille's To Music, you can hear it in the fluid grace, the slight bite in the tone. But the set isn't retro in any way; To Music has an unmistakable modern sound based on the guitarist's strikingly well-crafted songs and forward-looking arrangements.

Of the nine songs offered here, no less than three are award-winners (from the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition and the Great American Song Contests): “Arthur C,” “Miro,” and “Lost and Found.” And apparently those people giving out the awards know a great tune when they hear one. Without exception, every song on the disc brims with very satisfying depth, based (among other things) on intriguing leading chord progressions.

The band, a quintet featuring piano and sax (tenor and soprano) in front of a bass/drum rhythm section and alongside Robitaille's guitar, drifts between a tight groove mode and a freer flexible flow as well as anybody out there, sounding like the child of the veteran groove-oriented Yellowjackets and the freer, dark-hued sound of the newcomers Andy McWain Quartet (Starfish, Fuller St. Music, '03).

To Music is a highly polished, well-crafted set that benefits greatly from Robitaille's arranging skills, especially his weave of guitar/piano. It's got to be on the short list of debuts of the year.

Visit Whaling City Sound on the web.

~ Dan McClenaghan

- All About Jazz by Dan McClenaghan

"Cd Review of "To Music""

"I count The Jim Robitaille Group's newest recording To Music as one of the nice surprises I received this past holiday season.
To Music features eight tracks written by Robitaille, along with a cover of Jerome Kern's Yesterdays. Robitaille sites Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery and John Abercrombie as influences.
His playing is smooth and graceful, while his compositions build depth based on interesting leading chord progressions.
Case in point is the opener, Freedom Waltz, which also features nice solos from Robitaille, Liebman and pianist Matt Richard.
Arthur C. is catapulted by the fiery playing of Liebman. As the name suggests, Adagio is a slower ballad that captures more of Robitaille's compositional skills, his work on acoustic guitar and a pleasing bass solo from Dave Zinno. West End Strut is a funky romp in odd-time signatures that gives Liebman more room to shine.
On many pieces Liebman and Robitaille often double up to play melodies in tandem, providing a nice blend in sounds between guitar and sax. In good keeping with the entire recording, which displays a fine blend of talent, composition and craft."

- Jazz Review.Com - Ron Klemm

""To Music" review"

"Jim Robitaille has a clear sound and an advanced style all his own. He performs eight of his challenging and often thoughtful originals plus the standard “Yesterdays" with a well-integrated quintet that includes saxophonist Dave Liebman on many of the tracks. “West End Strut" is catchy (inspiring some heated solos) and this version of “Yesterdays" cooks. In fact, despite the fact that three of these songs won contests in the past, it is the interplay between Robitaille and his sidemen (particularly Liebman) that is of greatest interest and makes this a generally enjoyable effort.
- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide


As a leader

Jim Robitaille Group "To Music" w/Dave Liebman Whaling City Sound

Trine " Politics" w/ Rick Britto and Chris Poudrier

The Matt Richard/Jim Robitaille Duo "The Art of the Duo"
MJR Productions

Sideman recordings:

Rick Frank " The Labyrinth"
Decker Creek Records

Bobby Santos "I Found My Way Back Home"

Bruce Abbott/ Jim Robitaille Duo "Duets"

Marcus Monteiro

The Matt Richard Quartet "Hawthorne Street
Connection" MJR Productions

The Dancing Dogs "Fishing in the Desert"
Weird Beat Productions

The Dancing Dogs "Cynanthrophy"
Weird Beat Productions

The Dancing Dogs "Patience"
Whaling City Sound

Graceful Soul. Whaling City Sound



Guitarist composer Jim Robitaille, has garnered recognition internationally for his recordings, performances and award winning compositions. He is also teaches guitar on the jazz faculty at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The Jim Robitaille Group's debut recording entitled " To Music", featuring saxophone great Dave Liebman has received international critical acclaim. The CD garnered three international composition awards with three of Jim's compositions from the recording including the 9th Annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition sponsored by BMI where he received his award from jazz piano great Herbie Hancock and performed with the Monk Institute band at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. The performance aired as part of a two hour television special on the BET Jazz Channel. The CD was number five in the top ten list of 2004 by the Daily Ipirotikos Agon and the Apopsy in Greece and was the publishers pick for All About Jazz and the Boston Herald. The recording has received international airplay on almost two hundred radio stations including the Time Warner Music Choice Jazz Channel and was #1 chart-bound on the Jazz Week Jazz charts.
He has performed and or recorded with many great regional and international jazz artists including Dave Liebman, Bob Moses, Karl Berger, John Lockwood, Santi Debriano, Jim Odgren, Brad Hatfield, Chris Taylor, Greg Abate, Allan Maillet, Lello Molinari, Andy McWain, Phil Grenadier, Matt Richard, Bruce Abbott, Alon Yavnai, Dino Govoni, Chris Poudrier, Mike Pope, Henry Hey, Bronek Suchanek, Bob Nieske, Dave Zinno, Jeff Galindo, Rick Britto, Bruno Raberg, Sai Ghose, Jerry Wilfong, Nina Ott, Chris Lopes, John Allmark, Hilary Noble, Laird Boles, Christopher Bonnier Pitts, Marcelle Gauvin, Lonnie Gasperini, Fernando Huergo, Ron Bosse, John Harrison, Jim Porcella, Royal Hartigan and Bobby Greene and Coleus as well as many other artists and groups.
Robitaille has performed internationally, including the Baird Auditorium in the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC). The Knitting Factory (New York, NY), Smoke (New York, NY), on the BET Jazz Channel and the Time Warner Jazz Channel, The 18th Annual University of Massachusetts Jazz Festival (Dartmouth, MA), The Provincetown Jazz Festival, Wheaton College, Brandeis University, Western New England College, Westfield State College, Holyoke Community College, Ryles Jazz Club (Cambridge, MA), The Center For The Arts ( Natick, MA), Bob The Chefs ( Boston, MA), the Zeiterion Theatre (New Bedford, MA), The Limetree Inn (St. John, U.S.V.I.) and performances in Canada with Marcus Monteiro's MM4, He has also received numerous performance grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for the Arts for group performances since 1989.
Trine " Politics" w/ saxophonist Rick Britto and drummer Chris Poudrier
The Jim Robitaille Group, "To Music" on Whaling City Sound
Rick Frank "The Labyrinth" on Decker Creek Records
Rick Frank "Brookline Summer" on Decker Creek Records 2006 release
Trine w/ Rick Britto, Chris Poudrier, Chris Lopes and Jim Robitaille unreleased
Marcus Monteiro "MM4" 2006 release on Whaling City Sound
Bobby Santos "I Found My Way Home"
w/ Bruce Abbott "Duets"
The Matt Richard/Jim Robitaille Duo, "The Art Of The Duo" on MJR,
The Matt Richard Quartet,"Hawthorne Street Connection" on MJR,
" Just Jazz" Cape Cod Jazz Musicians Compilation CD
The Dancing Dogs, "Fishing in the Desert"
The Dancing Dogs,"Cynanthrophy"
The Dancing Dogs "Patience" on Whaling City Sound
Graceful Soul. Whaling City Sound


9th Annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition Sponsored by BMI.

2002 Great American Song Contest

Jim has taught workshops/clinics, jazz improvisation, jazz ensembles, classes, and or given concerts for the music programs at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, Westfield State College, Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, Holyoke Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Connecticut College, Western New England College, Bristol Community College, Falmouth Academy and Tabor Academy in Marion, MA.
At the present time he teaches jazz guitar on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Tabor Academy in Marion, MA, at his own studio as well as the Symphony Music Shop in Dartmouth, MA . Jim has studied guitar and improvisation with jazz guitarist Jon Damian in Boston, MA, and improvisation with pianist and master teacher Charlie Banacos.