B.Agric. (Massey) Dip.Jazz Studies with merit (Sydney Con.)
Saxophonist, Vocalist Composer, Arranger
“Whether playing simple three note phrases or free-jazz squalls, Robertson expresses it all with a great respect for the material and an obvious joy in his instruments’ voice.” John Hardaker – Liveguide.
The trumpet was Rick’s first instrument which he began playing at age ten. In his late teens after hearing David Sanborn’s playing on a David Bowie record the alto saxophone became his passion followed by the tenor not long after discovering Sonny Rollin’s “The Bridge” and Grover Washington’s “Soul Box”.
1980 – 1990. New Zealand. After completing a batchelors degree Rick became a full time musician practising and playing in bands around Auckland, New Zealand. It was a vital time for live music and there was plenty of opportunity for young musicians to ply their trade and lots of high quality funk, soul and jazz bands in the city always open to cats having a blow. During this time Rick played with bands such as Peter Morgan Band, Billy TK, Midge Marsden, Kenny Pearson Power Band, Superbrew, Ardijah, and led his own band Fables of Faubus. A period in New York and New Orleans in 1987 opened his eyes to the intensity and the quality of modern jazz in the US and a desire to study jazz with Mike Nock and Don Burrows at the Sydney Conservatorium. Two years of intensive study followed and a lot of friends made. Rick found himself ensconced in the Sydney scene that was thriving and at the heart of a new band called d.i.g that was playing a lot around town and was building a large following. In the next couple of years the band went on to sign a major international record deal, achieve a gold record and tour the world.
1990 – 2000. Reformed in 2007. Rick is probably best known for his work with the band d.i.g (Universal/Verve). His involvement with the band being all encompassing, playing not only the saxophone but being a principal composer, arranger and co-producer of each of dig’s four albums, two of which were released internationally on the Verve label with sales exceeding 100,000 units. Rick toured with d.i.g for eight years which included three tours to Europe, UK, USA, Hong Kong, Thailand, and New Zealand. Performances at the Mentreux and North Sea Festivals, Vienna Museum Quarter Jazz Festival, Pheonix Festival (UK), the Canal St Club in New York and annual visits to the Jazz Café in London some of the highlights. D.i.g received two a.p.r.a awards, Aria nomonations and achieved Gold status for the album “Deeper”. Three other albums were released, Speak Easy, Curvy Strasse and Live at Milton all of which received good reviews and sold in the 10’s of thousands. The band has played a few, shows in 2008 – 2010 and is in the process of finishing a new all original album produced by Tim Rollinson due for release in 2010.
2000 – current. “It’s all slickly executed, snappily produced and as hip as a Charles Eames chair” wrote Richard Jinman of the Sydney Moring Herald when reviewing Eon Beat’s fourth album About to Blow. Rick leads this band and has produced all of it’s 5 albums to date. This band has played festivals around Australia and is in demand currently for live shows at clubs like the basement in Sydney and also on the corporate scene and weddings.
1996 – 2001. Rick also leads the band Baecastuff, formed in 1996, has released three Albums. Two for Rufus records and the latest album “Out of this World” (recorded at Sony Studios for the Naxos Jazz label) has recently been released internationally to brilliant reviews. Baecastuf appeared at the Wangaratta festival of Jazz in November 2002.
Rick Robertson Trio and Quartet
2006 – current. Always keen on singing Rick now sings and plays Saxophone out front of his Trio and Quartet. Inspired by Harry Connick, Buble’ and the greats such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole his vocal stylings are in demand as a wedding singer and has a residencies at Wildfire at Circular Quay. Featured recently in the Sydney Morning Herald promoting their performance at the Darling Harbour Jazz festival.
Rick has worked on albums for singers Carolyn Lynne and Michelle Rounds in his capacity as a freelance producer as well as co-producing nine albums for the above mentioned bands.
As a session musician, Rick has played on many commercial releases including Human Nature, Ardijah, Margaret Urlich, Girlfriend. His music features on ads such as KFC, Volvo, Ikea etc, and he recorded all of the saxophone on the ABC series Wildside and currently Channel 9s Young Lions. Arrangements include TV1 incidental music and the Foxtel theme.
Rick is currently signed to Universal Music Publishing and Creative Vibes Records. He is a Full Writer member of APRA.
The latest Eon Beats release Blue Rhythm People was recorded programmed by Rick at his home Studio using Cubase 4 .
Currently Rick has over eighty titles registered with a.p.r.a from music for short film (screened a number of times on the ABC and at film festivals internationally) and commercial music to funky and modern jazz tunes.
Norfolk Island Cyclorama
Rick recently composed, recorded and produced music for the Norfolk Island Cyclorama, a purpose built circular building with an internal mural depicting the story of the Bounty Mutineers from their departure in Portsmouth to their final resting place Norfolk Island. The mural took almost two years to complete and the music/soundscape is a perfect complement. The project was opened recently to rave reviews.
Reviews… Album Reviews…
Baecastuff- One Hand Clapping
“Everything is done here to make the whole production sound interesting, inviting and urgently or dreamily funky. Exiting solos are the cream on top..” ****
John Clare, Sydney Morning Herald
“It is vastly original yet also impressively easy to log into. A most remarkable effort,”/
Craig N Pierce, Drum Media
“One Hand Clapping should soon be part of every jazz enthusiast’s collection – this is Australian improvised jazz at its best.”
Matt Connors, Rave
“the group mixes the elements better than most, avoiding the fusion cliches, and demonstrating that it’s possible to use familiar ingredients to create something new. ****
Peter Jordan, Rolling Stone
Baecastuff- Big Swell
“laden with strong grooves, deviates from the formulaic”
PeterJordan, Rolling Stone
“You couldn’t ask for a more satisfying mix of the poignant, the complex and the downright funky”****
Cal Clugston, Revolver
“This is a great CD”
Time Off Magazine
“when the grooves are supposed to cook they really do.”
John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald
Baecastuff- Out of this World.
“Like no Other”
John Shand Sydney Morning Herald
“Baecastuff is something else”
e.o.n – spin
“With jazz funk acts such as Down to the Bone, and the Ruby Truby Trio exploding across Europe, new Sydney group e.o.n. have produced a debut album that should have them receiving similar acclaim the world over”
“This album will soon have you shaking your tush to its mesmerising funk-laden grooves.” 4 and a half stars.
“Damn, there’s nothing quite like an accomplished debut.” 3D Magazine
“Brilliant, Cool and Funkilicious. Fine musicianship and a smooth blend of funky live drum beats,
DJ dexterity and a luscious saxophone bring you grooves with full bodied attitude.” Carl Lindgreen, Map Magazine.