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February 28, 2003

Jimmy Roberts voted Artist of the month

Jimmy Roberts has been voted "Uncharted Artist Of The Month" by Jazznation. Read the article and listen to songs from his current album.

posted by Rita Belcher

Jimmy Roberts was born in Suffolk, Virginia, where he reluctantly began his musical studies in school. “I had a teacher who wanted me to join the band,” Jimmy recalls, “so she took me by my arm and pulled me down to the music teacher and told him that she wanted me to be in the band. He asked me what instrument I wanted to play and being that I wasn't that keen on being in the band anyway the only thing that I thought about was, ‘what could be the easiest instrument to play?’, so I told him I would like to play the snare drum. I went home and told my mom about the entire incident and that I was going to be a drummer and she shook her head and replied, ‘I used to date a fellow before I met your father that played the saxophone and I used to love the sound of the sax so why don't you play the sax instead of the drum? I don't know if I can take a drum in this house anyway.’ For me it didn't matter, so I went back to school and told my teacher that I was going to be a sax player. Two days after taking my sax home, I heard a song on the radio and immediately was able to play it. Thus Jimmy Roberts, the saxman, was born.”

Jimmy continued studying the sax in the school band under the direction of Frank Carballo also a saxophonist on the local Virginia scene, influenced by the masters of the sax. “The guys that inspired me as a young sax player are that guys that still inspire me today. I am and will always be a fan of John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, King Curtis, and Jr. Walker,” Jimmy shares. “I think my most recent inspiration comes from Kirk Whalum. He has such a spiritual presence in his sound and not only do you hear the music you feel it.

His first jaunt away from home took him to Toronto, Canada. After working the Canadian music scene for a few years, touring, recording and learning the fundamentals of the music business, he set out for Los Angeles in search of a way to make his soulful sound known.

Once in LA, Jimmy was immediately embraced by Bobby Keyes (of Rolling Stone fame) to be one of the soloist in his band. Through Bobby, he found himself in the L.A. clique, doing triple scale sessions with the likes of Harry Nilsson, Van Dyke Parks and Trevor Lawrence.

Jimmy was working with Etta James, who at that time was using two saxophones in her band. The other sax player was a guy named Gene Dinwiddie. Gene was putting together a horn section for Greg Allman and Cher. So Jimmy’s life on the road began in true high dollar fashion, in Europe no less. His next return to Europe was with Paulinho DaCosta, a brilliant percussionist, playing the Montreux and North Sea Jazz festivals.

One night, at a party, Jimmy met an Englishman by the name of Jackie Lomax who, as it turned out, was the first artist signed to the Beatles’ record label. He was in the middle of recording his album and Jimmy became the horn arranger for Jackie’s next four records. By a referral from Lee Thornburg (trumpet player of Tower of Power), Jimmy ended up auditioning for Rod Stewart. In 1986 he began recording and touring with Rod, a position that continued for 14 years.

“I must say the best part of working with Rod was the exposure and the travel,” Jimmy recalls. “I have been to and through just about every corner of the world. What a blessing. The most difficult part was having to leave my family and be on the road for months on end - thus the yen and yang of life.”

In between Rod Stewart’s tours he had time to tour with Sade, record and tour with France Gall, Johnny Halliday, and film videos with the Eurythmics. He played benefit concerts in Japan and did numerous recording dates with various artists.

Currently, Jimmy can be seen touring with trumpeter Rick Braun, who was also one of Rod Steward’s and Sade’s tour band members. “Rick and I have been playing around Los Angeles for many years, beginning with a variety of club dates and club bands, recording sessions, tours with Rod Stewart and Sade,” Jimmy says. “Our paths have been intermingled for as long as I can remember. I was on the road with Rick in Rod's band when Rod decided to take a few days off in the middle of the tour and most of the band flew home. Rick and Jeff Golub decided to stay behind and find a studio to record some songs they had been working on. With those songs he landed his first record deal.”

Jimmy recently joined forces with guitarist and producer Peter Roberts and The Roberts Bros. were born. Together they collaborated on writing and producing their first album "Sugar & Spice.”
Jimmy released his first solo CD, “Bless My Soul” in 2002.

With all this already to his credit, Jimmy is looking forward to another busy year. “At the moment I am feeling fairly anxious about the possibility of doing a record with a new artist out of New York,” Jimmy says. “His name is Paul Joseph and he plays guitar and raps. He has such a sincerity about him that I feel we could create a very special record that would join the elements of rap and instrumental and come up with a pretty powerful piece of music.

“Next up for me will hopefully be a Roberts Bros. record #2, a Jimmy Roberts record #2. I am going to have a very busy 2003. The first part of the year I will spend working on preproduction for my projects and possibly go out with Rick Braun in the spring.”

Asked if he had any words of advice to young musicians, Jimmy shared, “The best advice I can give to any musician is to be sincere to your heart and your ear when playing music. Being a musician is truly one of the most incredible gifts we can ever receive.”

And it’s indeed an incredible gift that Jimmy Roberts possesses.

By Elizabeth Ware, courtesy Jazznation.



My Soul

My Soul
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That Pecular
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