Goodbye, Robin Lumley

Arguably the best jazz-rock keyboard player to have come out of Blighty, Robin Lumley, who passed away on March 9th at the age of 75, was instrumental in forming the British fusion scene of the ’70s and, thus, influenced the entire genre. If not for him, there would be no BRAND X, the revolutionary band Robin initiated to stay with, leave and come back to further down the line, and no the ambitious reading of Prokofiev’s “Peter And The Wolf” that he designed with Jack Lancaster to involve such elite players as Manfred Mann and Gary Brooker – to name only ivories drivers whose participance showed Lumley was never afraid of healthy competition.

And he shouldn’t have been, as Robin had performed with high-profile artists earlier – Lumley’s piano was featured on “Top Of The Pops” version of David Bowie’s “Starman” and on “Broken Lady” by CURVED AIR – and had even produced some remarkable records, including ISOTOPE’s “Deep End” (which would lead to his working and playing on guitarist Gary Boyle’s "The Dancer" later on) and “Feels Good To Me” by BRUFORD. But, of course, it was delivering – and composing – BRAND X classics like “Disco Suicide” that Robin’s most remembered for; add to this his directorial presence on Rod Argent and Dave Greenslade’s albums, and Lumley’s looming large as a consummate musician. Yet there was more to him.

He wrote pieces for TV commercials and, after his move to Australia, for Perth Theatre Company – and he authored a music-unrelated book “Tay Bridge Disaster: The People’s Story” about a 1879 tragedy, where “people” could have been a key word for the great keyboardist, because he was a warm kind of person. Robin Lumley’s passing is a huge loss, and he will be much missed.

March 11, 2023

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