Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page

Reginald R. Robinson is an internationally recognized pianist, composer, recording artist and lecturer of traditional African American folk and Caribbean music. His passion for jazz music started in 1985 when his brother Marlando began listening to big band music of the 1930’s and 40’s.

Reginald’s particular interest for ragtime started in 1986 in the 7th grade at Robert Emmet Elementary school. The assembly was called From Bach To Bebop were trumpeter Orbert Davis led an ensemble and lectured about various music styles and gave examples. One of the examples was Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. After the assembly Reginald went home and asked his parents for a piano so he could create his own ragtime music. His parents eventually purchased a small keyboard not too long after and the following year a full size piano.

Without money to take piano lessons, he was left to teaching himself how to read and write music.

In 1992 he was able to record many of his original compositions with the help of a fellow Chicago musician Jon Weber. This led to Reginald recording three albums for Delmark Records.

In 2004 Reginald received the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s rare and prestigious “Genius” award for his ragtime compositions and recordings. He was honored in 2006 by National Association of University Women as a Chicago legend and was also honored in 2010 by the ETA Creative Arts Foundation for upholding the tradition.

In addition to Reginald’s concert performances he educates on the history of ragtime and early jazz music at public schools, colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Reginald has self-released two albums Man Out of Time (2006) and Reflections (2010).

He has written music for theater, independent feature length and short film dramas and documentaries. Reginald has performed music with dancers, vocalists, symphonic orchestras such as Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and Maestro Paul Freeman’s Chicago Sinfonietta, jazz ensembles such as Andrew Bird’s
 Bowl of Fire, Fulcrum Point and the Arts Center Jazz Ensemble.
 
Reginald is currently working on a project called “Ragtime” a film documentary about the history and development of ragtime music.


Reginald R. Robinson