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Music Preview: Tobin's Run on 51

by Photo of Paul Hansen

A lively musical series concludes at the Irish Arts Center

The Irish Arts Center has been featuring a three part jazz series led by Christine Tobin and Phil Robson called Tobin’s Run on 51.   This Thursday April 27 will feature the final installment of the series with an evening entitled  “Rip Rig & Panic.”  The title of the show is derived from an album by famed American jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk.  In addition to his vibrant on-stage presence,  Kirk was well known for playing a number of different instruments (sometimes simultaneously) including the tenor saxophone and flute.

Kirk, who passed in away in 1977,  often laced his concerts with comic banter and topical observations and his politically challenging humor formed a part of the zeitgeist of the 1960’s. Interestingly,  Jay Leno was at one time one of Rahsaan's opening acts.   A number of guest artists, including the Jed Levy Quartet, will lead a celebratory performance of Kirk’s life and music.    

The evening will follow the previous installment of Tobin’s Run on 51 which was entitled “Both Sides Now – The Melting Pot.”   This performance, which I attended, was a lively exploration of the collaboration between jazz bassist/composer Charles Mingus and Joni Mitchell which in the late 1970’s  produced the famed Mingus album.      

The series of musical evenings is being led by Christine Tobin, an Irish vocalist and composer who has been active on the jazz scene since the mid-1980s.   In 2012 Tobin won a BASCA British Composer Award for her album of music set to poems by Yeats – Sailing to Byzantium.  Tobin has been quoted as saying that she discovered jazz through the Mingus album and she recently released Pelt, a CD of her songs with poems and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon.

Also hosting the event is Phil Robson, who in addition to being an acclaimed guitarist is a co-leader with Julian Siegel of the band Partisans. Robson has performed with Barbara Streisand, Kenny Wheeler and Adam Nussbaum among many other major artists.

The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51st Street in Manhattan.


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