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The Local Spins series highlighting music that helped shape West Michigan musicians continues with Grand Rapids’ Robin Connell who cites Mel Lewis, Chick Corea, Bill Evans and a current (related) fave.

Mesmerizing Influences: Robin Connell cites some well-known icons. This image of the pianist is the featured photo for May in the 2021 Local Spins Calendar. (Photo/Kendra Petersen-Kamp)


EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians trace their inspiration to key recordings that captivated them and influenced their own music. Today, Local Spins writer Ross Boissoneau showcases the albums that changed the world for Grand Rapids pianist Robin Connell, along with a release she’s currently loving. Plus, scroll down for a Spotify playlist of all the artists she chose.

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Jazz pianist and vocalist Robin Connell is familiar to audiences around the region. The winner of multiple arts grants, she frequently performs with her husband, trombonist and vocalist Paul Brewer, in duos and quartets, playing their original arrangements of jazz standards. She holds a Doctorate in Music Theory & Composition and is devoted to jazz education, having spent 20 years on the jazz faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp and 17 years teaching music theory at Grand Rapids Community College. She currently teaches jazz studies at