Born: March 24, 1954 Primary Instrument: Cello
Hank Roberts (born March 24, 1954 in Terre Haute, Indiana) is an American jazz cellist and vocalist. His instrument is electrified, and his style is a mixture of rock, jazz, avant garde, folk and classical influences. He is strongly associated with the downtown New York Jazz scene of the 1980s and its post-modern tendencies.
In the early '80s he made a number of recordings for the defunct JMT label, including Black Pastels, Birds of Prey, and Little Motor People. He also recorded two discs with the Arcado String Trio, an improvisational chamber group featuring Mark Feldman, violin, and Mark Dresser, double bass. In the early '90s he left Frisell's group and stopped touring widely.
In 1997 Roberts formed his own record label, based in Ithaca, NY, called Level Green Records. On Level Green he released a solo cello recording, 22 Years from Now, a trio recording, I'll Always Remember, a duet with Berne, and a quasi-folk release, Ti-Ti Chickapea. In 2005 he released The Truth and Reconciliation Show with his band Wiggy Dog Boy.
Roberts has recorded with several notable acts, including Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Joey Baron and Django Bates
When I first heard Hank Roberts' music more than 22 years ago, he had already found his own way of playing, his own voice. Since then, that voice has been getting stronger, clearer, more powerful, more beautiful, more soulful. It's all on his CD '22 Years From Now.' It's so rare to hear music this pure and it's so inspiring to know someone with the strength and courage to stay so true.
Guitarist Bill Frisell
“...One of the most respected improvising cellists on the international scene.”
“He strums, plucks and bows his way through an incredible array of sounds, by turns far-out and spacey, then earthy and natural. It’s the sound of urban Jazz lofts, but also Irish firesides, Lenni Lenape dances, Jimi Hendrix and Stephen Foster.”
Ithaca Community Spirit
“able to shift through the best elecents of European classical music, pop and jazz, and bring them to a reapproachment that sounds new.”
The New York Times
“Roberts dazzled the crowd...sonic ferocity that could only recall Jimi Hendrix...the interplay was marvelous...I couldn’t have been much more inspired.”
“Moving easily between Jazz rhythms, tribal beats and classically influenced passages, Roberts as a composer is willing to overlook the usual boundaries between jazz and progressive music.”
Los Angeles Times
“Hank Roberts proves to be not only an excellent cellist, but as a composer and arranger rich in ideas he leaves no doubt about his outstanding abilities.”
“There is no category for Roberts’ music, which must be an amalgram of everything he’s heard in his life, so we might as well call it Jazz. No boundaries, just the free flow of ideas from an embracing imagination.”
Detroit News And Free Press