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Hendrix On A Horn: The World Of Robin Eubanks

Robin Eubanks' new album, <em>More Than Meets The Ear</em>, is out now.
Robin Eubanks' new album, <em>More Than Meets The Ear</em>, is out now.

There have been plenty of distinctions in Robin Eubanks' career. The award-winning musician, composer and educator has played with Stevie Wonder, Elvin Jones and Art Blakey; he's appeared on The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, the Grammys. He even plays electric trombone — the result of years of listening to rock and funk music and wanting to get in on the action.

"I was a guest soloist with a band in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the sax player had a mic clipped on his bell," Eubanks explains. "During the intermission, I asked him if I could clip it on my bell. I plugged it into the guitar player's rig, and all kinds of bells and whistles went off in my head. I said, 'This is it.'"

But for all his accolades and experiments, there's something Eubanks hasn't tried until now. His latest album, More Than Meets the Ear, is a collection of big-band arrangements.

"It just offers so many possibilities, 'cause within a big band, you have solo, duo, trio — you have all the different combinations of small groups," he says. "Of course, it's like three times the size of a quintet, or more, so there's a lot more overhead. It's a challenging thing. ... But I just love the sound."

Robin Eubanks spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about the making of More Than Meets the Ear and channeling his love of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin into jazz. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.