Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

January 12, 2012

Andover native on sax at free jazz concert

An accomplished saxophonist and Andover native chose Graves Hall at Phillips Academy for his quartet's upcoming CD-release party for a very simple reason.

"Phillips was where I got serious about music," said Pete Robbins, Phillips Academy class of 1997. "I played, I listened to music...being around other kids who were serious about music really helped me. We pushed each other."

Now 33 and the dean at Brooklyn Conservatory in New York, Robbins comes home next Friday, Jan. 20 to offer a free jazz concert that starts at 7:30 p.m.

He'll have his new CD on hand, which will not be officially released to the general public until Feb. 14. The CD features the Transatlantic Quartet, a trio of European musicians and Robbins on saxophone.

At the Andover show, Robbins will team with three New York musicians and play music from the Transatlantic Quartet CD.

"This is the best band of young jazz musicians in New York," he said of the Pete Robbins Quartet.

Listeners will hear contemporary and some traditional jazz music.

"It's not so brainy. It conveys genuine emotion," Robbins said of the music for his Andover concert.

He may be returning to his musically inspiring Phillips Academy roots for the concert, but Andover's public school music scene also inspired this one-time fourth-grade clarinetist in the West Elementary School band.

"I absolutely was inspired by school bands and music teachers," he said. "I remember (the late) Mr. (Allan) Minkkinen letting me play whatever I wanted. He gave me some scales, played piano in the background and I loved it. I was in the middle school jazz band."

He was in teen rock bands and still performs songs by the rock band Guns & Roses, only with a jazzier twist.

After graduating from a dual degree program between Tufts University and New England Conservatory, Robbins moved to New York in 2002.

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