JazzNights 43

Robert Rodriguez

On Friday, February 4th, JazzNights will present the first of a three-part series featuring the Rodriguez Brothers, Robert and Michael. This February, pianist Robert will appear with bassist Josh Ginsburg and drummer Eric Doob. Later this Winder and Spring trumpeter Michael will lead a trio and then the brothers will perform together as the Rodriguez Brothers band.

Why so much attention to two young musicians? It's simple - they are well worth it; every once in a great while new people appear on the scene that demand attention. Word of mouth compels you to check them out and from then on, you're hooked.


"...there's no mistaking the sparks, Robert crunches and fragments harmony when soloing in fast tunes, Michael has an innate understanding of how to play the flugelhorn on slow songs while keeping them tense."

Ben Ratliff, The New York Times


I think there is a bit too much reserve in Mr. Ratliff's praise, nice though it is. These are the most exciting new musicians I've encountered over the last few years. They are one of the few groups I try never to miss in New York, and they have never disappointed, either together or individually. The ever-perceptive A. G. Zaire has it better;


"It's like running into Richie Powell and Clifford Brown at the Café Bohemia in 1953. I don't believe in reincarnations, but this makes me wonder. Here are two young musicians at the beginnings of their careers, and one can only delight not only in what is here now, but even more in what is sure to come."


Robert and Michael were born in New York of Cuban-Equadorian parents. They moved to Miami where both brothers studied at the University of Miami. Both began touring with very serious jazz mentors and eventually moved back to New York where they regularly perform but individually and together. Robert works with Joe Locke in "Force of Four," Locke's great quartet, and Michael can be heard all over in both small groups and, sometimes the Maria Schneider band. I've never heard Michael with the Schneider band, but Frank Kimbrough raved about his performance in a recent conversation., remarking that he came in cold and was, nonetheless "all over the changes."

Robert's trio is first. We can expect jazz and songbook standards, as well as Roberts own tunes. He's becoming a composer of note - he has recent commissions from the Chamber Music of America and an ASCAP young composers award. You can catch a nice solo of his about half way through a Force of Four Clip on YouTube:


Bassist Josh Ginsburg still only in his early 30's, has toured and recorded widely. Early on he studied with Jackie McLean, and then at the New School with iconic bassists Buster Williams, Reggie Workman and Peter Washington. He appeared in JazzNights 28 with George Colligan and Rudy Royston. I've heard him many times since, and he continues to grow and impress. He's a wonderful bassist.

I had not heard Eric Doob until the other night when I caught him at the Jazz Gallery with Miguel Zenon. He's very good, as one would expect of a graduate of Berklee, and one who has played not only with Mr. Zenon, but also with Paquito D'Rivera, Jonathan Kreisberg, and Ryan Keberle., who comments,

"Eric has that authentic jazz sensibility...his deep Latin jazz background brings an additional rhythmic element to the music."



Introducing The Rodriguez Brothers, RodBros Music

Conversations, Savant 2082

and the new one, available from their website: Mood Swing