Dana Robbins

Dana Robbins

Dana Robbins 2014

Review by David Bowling


Dana Robbins is an artist you may have seen and heard without realizing it. She is a saxophonist who has been a part of the touring bands for Barry Manilow and Aretha Franklin, plus has played with such artists as Roger Daltry, John Mayall, Chaka Khan, James Brown, Steve Cropper, and Frank Zappa. Her latest gig is touring in support of Delbert McClinton.

During 2012 she struck out on her own as a band leader and released So So Good. She has now returned with her second self-titled offering.

Sometimes you are measured by the friends you keep, and Dana Robbins has a lot of friends. Delbert McClinton and Jimmy Hall each provide the lead vocals for two tracks. Also on hand are drummer Lynn Williams’, bassist Michael Joyce, guitarist Bob Britt, guitarist Rob McNelley, keyboardists Kevin McKendree and Tom McDonald, plus producer Tom Hambridge

She has a good idea of how to create an interesting album. She mixes up the tempos, plus the instrumentals intertwine with the vocal tracks. Throughout it all, Robbins demonstrates that she is a first-rate saxophonist. She wrote or co-wrote six of the 11 tracks and even supplies the lead vocal for “Right As Rain.”

Some of the instrumentls include McKendree’s organ and Robbins sax playing off of each other on the King Curtis cover “Soul Twist,” a romp through Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes,” and the smooth jazz sounds of “Make It A Double.”

“Hardest Part” was co-written by McClinton and he delivers a soulful vocal on the ballad while Robbins fills in the gaps. Jimmy Hall is equally soulful on “Bless Your Heart” as Robbins matches his emotion with her saxophone.

Dana Robbins continues to bloom as a band leader. Her latest album finds her not only producing good music but understanding how to put an album together.

Rating: ***1/2