I remember it like it was just yesterday. Who knew that an unassuming School Talent Show in Suffolk, Virginia would change my life forever. The moment I realized the power of the unspoken word for the first time.
It's the high from expressing One's self so freely, or maybe the energy that hangs in the air afterwards that caught me. Being completely embraced by another human being in that moment was one of most enthralling feelings in the world, bar none.
It was after that talent show that I discovered a performance is much more than just an exhibition of skill, it's a very real connection with those who choose to listen.
Now that I had a spark of passion, fate would provide me with an awesome mentor to fan the flame. Mr. Frank Carballo, sax player himself, graciously took me under his wing & showed me the ropes. It was Mr. Carballo's mission to transform a passionate kid into a musician of professional standard.
After a short stint of teaching, & laying the foundation, he allowed me to fill in for some of his gigs.
I began playing regularly in the area & after racking up quite a few bookings in the city, I soon became a highly requested player around town.
Now that I had a good amount of experience I felt it was time to spread my wings & see what the world had in store for me. Some would say I felt "the call."
Toronto, Ontario was my first venture outside of Virginia. I landed numerous gigs and found myself traveling and recording in a popular Canadian band in the seventies called "Truck."
There I had the awesome opportunity to work with another great friend and mentor of mine, William “Smitty” Smith.
Toronto gave me some of the my greatest memories & lifelong friends but soon after settling in I felt "the call" once more.
I felt that California would be a better fit for me, so I took the risk, loaded up the wagon and drove 13 hours to the City of Angels & the rest is history.
From that point onward I started to make a name for myself in the industry. Throughout the 80’s, 90’s I recorded with the best of the best & played gigs around the world.
I’ve had the opportunity to play with some truly amazing artists & musicians such as Rod Stewart, Etta James, The Eurythmics, Sade, Pianist Rob Mullins, R&B singer Derek Bordeaux, Randy Jacobs, Carly Simon, Rick Braun, David Benoit, Greg Karukas just to name a a few.
The beginning of the 21st century brought some fresh new changes! Coming off the road I transitioned into a family man and began to write and produce music for other artists which kept me close to home.
Although traveling, but not as much, I continued to work with the smooth jazz community. I also worked with Mr. Engelbert Humperdinck, periodically.
While in Berlin at the Krone Circus we walked into the area where he was scheduled to appear that evening. We noticed it still wreaked of the elephant smells from the night before. He whispered to himself,
"it’s come to this..."
This was an awareness for me that in the blink of an eye, the life we know can quickly change. Most certainly a cue for me to get back into the game as an active paticipant in my own life story. As if life was listening, I got a call from Rod Stewart’s musical director Chuck Kentis, telling me that Rod had requested my presence back in his band.
Off the tail end of his American Songbook success he decided that he wanted to get back to his sax heavy Hot Legs style of music... I came back to work with Rod and picked up where I had left off, being his hard blowing Saxman once again.
While being a family guy, I still managed to record a few projects of my own. Two solo projects, Bless My Soul and For We Are Never Alone, plus The Roberts Brothers Sugar and Spice and Twins Cds which by the way are still available for purchase. I am now finishing up my latest Cd, King of The Funky Tongue, a semi funky mixture of old and new grooves guaranteed to bring some love and happiness to your ears! There's no doubt , Jimmy Saxman Roberts is still out here playing that funky music.