My favorite musician Bryn Roberts


"***1/2…On Present Tense, 24-year-old Montreal pianist Bryn Roberts makes an impressive debut both as a player and a composer…The opening track, Spring Is Here, has all the jump and promise of a spring morning, with fine solos from Blake and Bauer. Roberts plays an impressionistic solo on Handwriting, a lovely composition that recalls some of Keith Jarrett's better works. As a composer, Roberts favours layered songs with unison/harmony parts for instruments, often with breaks in the rhythm and occasionally using odd time signatures. Based on his debut, this is a young man with a bright future."
- Mark Andrews, Vancouver Sun, September 1, 2001

"A winning first outing by this local pianist composer...9/10"
- Len Dobbin, Mirror (Montreal) May 10, 2001

"...24 year old Bryn Roberts is really good and really worth hearing...he has roared out of the blocks with Present Tense, a compelling debut disc. It has lots of maturity, poise and content...Blake plays heartily, Bauer adds a ringing, suspended quality to the mix, and Hollins and Jannuska drive the music mightily, building the foundation for musical rapport. At the helm, Roberts is deeply assured, impressively in his music without ever showing might not be too much of a stretch to hear some of (Fred) Hersch`s sophistication and measured approach in his pupil. The smart money is on Roberts taking off, headed for big things..."
- Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen June 16, 2001

"His sound at the piano is elegant, his touch precise, and his solos take you on a thoughtful journey with an underlying tension...Whether on a ballad or in a faster tempo, Roberts imparts a sense of urgency to his playing. He is also a talented composer. Some remarkable Canadian players carry his vision forward...This is accessible yet challenging music."
- Irwin Block, The Gazette (Montreal) June 7, 2001

"A musician has to start somewhere. Few musicians find as good a place as the Montreal based pianist Bryn Roberts, 24, has with his first CD, Present Tense. It comes with the endorsement of his most recent teacher, New Yorker Fred Hersch, with whom he shares a feeling for the careful balance in music of space, weighting and emotion. Roberts shows uncommon maturity in his willingness to hold back just a little...Roberts' sense of restraint does not, however, inhibit his natural flair for fine melodies and easy rhythmic and harmonic motion. If anything, understatement makes them all the more captivating."
- Mark Miller, The Globe and Mail, June 21, 2001

"A very strong debut from a Winnipeg-born, Montreal-based pianist...a well-balanced CD of originals and cleverly recast standard...she shows he also has his own ideas about how to cast and pace an album...melody lines pass among the three front men, with Karl Jannuska's kinetic but sensitive drumming as the anchor. Brief and striking piano-saxophone improvisations spell the longer and more elaborate pieces. Roberts' improvisations are sure-footed and melodic. You get the feeling we'll be hearing more from him."
- Paul Wells, The National Post, June 9, 2001

"Montreal pianist Bryn Roberts shows a keen ear for harmonic development, melodic flourishes and intense scrutiny in the Bill Evans/Fred Hersch/Bill Charlap mode on this debut CD...(Roberts) offers 10 bold, interesting originals...The outing is balanced. The band is really together, with Roberts displaying remarkable maturity...(an) enterprising, focused sampler of emerging talent."
- Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star, July 21, 2001

"Young Montreal, Canada-based pianist, Bryn Roberts; a one time student of pianist extraordinaire Fred Hersch, exhibits complex compositional tendencies that perhaps skirt the fringes of both mainstream and modern jazz on his debut release, Present Tense...Overall, Bryn Roberts demonstrates remarkable maturity to compliment his rather laudable technical faculties. Recommended!"
-Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz (

" 24 year old Montreal based pianist Bryn Roberts has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. For this, his first recording as leader, he's assembled an international cast of talented young musicians. Opening with Rodgers & Hart's "Spring Is Here," the most immediate thing is how lyrical the band is. Robert's piano shows a melodic invention similar to Bill Evans and his teacher, Fred Hersch...Seamus Blake on tenor has a slight edge to his full sound...His playing is both muscular and light. The rhythm section of drummer Karl Jannuska and bassist Fraser Hollins is tight...This is a wonderful recording full of spirited music. Bryn Roberts is a talent to watch..."
-Michael Bettine, The Jazz Review (