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Jackie Lee Robinson Remembered


On November 11th The Institute of Production and Recording will close its campus in remembrance of one of its late founding fathers, Jackie Lee Robinson.  To help pay tribute to his memory I asked members of the extended IPR community to reflect on what type of impact Jack had on their lives, and the ways in which his vision and teachings continue to inspire and influence them today.

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“From one bass player to another, Jack was FUNKY!  He was the one who inspired me to teach.  He approached me and encouraged me , saying that I could actually make a difference in a kids life.  He was one of a kind!” ~ Paul Peterson

“Mentoring under Jack Robinson was the turning point for me from being a hobbiest to making my living in the music industry.  He had a talent for teaching that brought the pressure of real world experience with a balance of hope and encouragement to each lesson.  He had a great impact on my life and the impact of his mentorship is present in my work everyday.  He has my highest respect.

The Jack Robinson quotes that I live by are: “signal flow, it’s all about signal flow”, “most engineers don’t hit their stride until they are in their 40’s”, and  “never be late for the call. If you’re late you don’t work.” ~ Chad Weis

“Jackie Lee Robinson was truly a role model to anyone aspiring top be an entrepreneur in the music business” ~ Kristin Aldridge

Jack Robinson quote:  (8 or 9 years ago at the Electronic Musician’s Workshop – Lake and Lyndale)

Jack:  What kind of music do you want to make?  Hip Hop?  House?  Tell me so I can teach you.

JP:  I don’t just want to make a particular kind of music…  I want to UNDERSTAND the MEDIUM of sound.

Jack:  Well, JP…  what you want is a degree in sound engineering.   Someday I’ll have my own school…  you will be the perfect candidate.

1 year later… IPR opens…  JP attends…   and now here we are.  🙂

“My life would never be the same, after those 1 on 1 lessons that I took back in the year 2000” ~ JP  Hunglemann

What I am most grateful about having known Jack is that he really helped me get a job at IPR.   After knowing him as an instructor at a previous music school, he would come into the music retail store that I used to work at and say, “Tanya, you shouldn’t be working here.  I really want to see you be happy.”  He explained that he was “starting up a new school” and they needed help in the Admissions department.  He invited me to IPR in the Fall of 2002 for a tour.  At that time IPR was 1/3 of the size it is now and about a dozen people worked there, but I was impressed with the vision that he and Lance had for the school.  I know that Jack would be very proud to see the milestone steps that IPR has taken these past few years.  Jack was also a vegetarian so we shared our love for good food and often discussed our favorite local restaurants.  But he never cooked for himself… probably because he was so busy all of the time.” ~ Tanya Norman

JR on bike

JLR with his beloved motorcycle

In addition to being an established bass player with both Prince and Carmen Electra, Robinson was also a philanthropist and concerned about childrens’ education. “He [Robinson] wanted to give back to the community,” said Stephen Slater, long time friend and colleague of Robinson. That dream has now become reality in the form of IDEAWERKS Indigenous Creative Academy, a venture designed to create, manage, and maintain community based multimedia arts, music and recording technology after school programs.

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Conceived in cooperation with The IPR/JLR Foundation and supported in part by contributions from a host of prominent music technology manufacturers, IDEAWERKS seeks to carry forward a vision of excellence in education, creativity, music, technology and public achievement as tools for communication and self awareness.

Morris Hayes, producer, artist, and long time musical director for Prince, took time out of his schedule to fly back to his hometown of Minneapolis to show his support for this exceptional program. “As a personal friend of the late Jackie Lee Robinson, I have nothing but heartfelt appreciation for the efforts of all involved to help make Jackie’s vision for Ideawerks come to life,” says Hayes. “I will continue to stay involved with the program and encourage all community members to do so as well. Students are given the remarkable opportunity to learn recording techniques and music basics at no charge, allowing them to express themselves in a creative way, and in a safe environment, too. This program will change many lives and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Thanks to all who contributed to this article and to the many individuals who push themselves to achieve in music and in life, thereby insuring that Jack’s wishes for the IPR community continue to be realized.



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