Last Call Review: Robin Eubanks and Mental Images / Klassik Rock Vol. 1/ Artist Share

Sep 2, 2014

Trombonist Robin Eubanks and his band Mental Images present bold reinterpretations of rock anthems from Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone on a new release, which also features five new original tunes.

For Klassik Rock Vol. 1 Robin Eubanks, on trombone and electric trombone leads the Mental Images band with Boris Kozlov, acoustic and electric bass;  Mike King, pianist/keyboardist; Nate Smith, drums along with special guests Corey Glover, vocals; brothers Kevin Eubanks, guitar and Duane Eubanks, trumpet;  Kris Bowers, piano; Antonio Hart, saxophone;  Billy Kilson, drums  and Daniel Sadwonick and David Silliman, percussion.

An essential part of the date is Eubanks's electric trombone, which sounds like a guitar at crescendos of this large ensemble date. "Kashmir" is certainly a highlight of the recording. The hypnotic, vital mix of acoustic and electrified instruments takes this Led Zepplin classic in a completely different direction. The Jimi Hendrix breakout hit "Fire"is given the type of blazing interpretation Hendrix would approve of.  Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You" is given a faithful, funky modern update with Corey Glover's vocals.

Tracks for the new CD include: "Thank You",  "Kashmir", "Fire",  "Bahian Parade",   "Shifting Centers",  "United Vision", "Ostinato", "The Ocean" and "Between the Lines".

Robin Eubanks is one of the leading trombonists on today's jazz scene. As a member of the Dave Holland Big Band, and quintet and septet, Eubanks is an essential sideman. His work on "Bedouin Trail", recorded on the Dave Holland release Extended Play is a remarkable piece of work, among many other very fine performances.

As a bandleader in his own right, Eubanks explores the frontiers of jazz with his bands Mental Images and EB3. Eubanks is also a music educator. He teaches at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and the New England Conservatory in Boston.  Eubanks has also taught and delivered seminars at universities and colleges throughout the world.

The brother of Kevin Eubanks, music director for The Tonight Show, Robin came to New York in 1980. He was fortunate to work with the legendary Sun Ra and Slide Hampton bands. Eubanks also served as a musical director for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He was also a member of McCoy Tyner's Big Band and Elvin Jones' Jazz Machine. Eubanks was a featured soloist, composer and arranger on J.J. Johnson's Grammy-nominated recording, The Brass Orchestra and has toured and/or recorded with such diverse musicians as the Mingus Big Band, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Eddie Palmieri and Barbara Steisand.

Robin Eubanks is easily capable of playing anything from straight ahead to free. That was in evidence at the 2006 Iowa City Jazz festival, where he played with the University of Iowa Jazz Ensemble. The show was a showcase for his expertise with electronics with which he became a one man band, drawing an enthusiastic response from the audience.

Listen to an interview with Robin Eubanks

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