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
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.