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Jim Robinson seen at left. Photograph by Stanley Kubrick, published in "Look" Magazine, 6 June, 1950

Jim Robinson, also known as Big Jim Robinson (December 25, 1892—May 4, 1976) was an American jazz musician, based in New Orleans, renowned for his deep, wide-toned, robust "tailgate" style of trombone playing, which enabled him to achieve a wide swoop between two notes as he moved the slide—while continually buzzing air into the mouthpiece.

Born Nathan Robinson in Deer Range, a tiny settlement in Plaquemines Parish of Louisiana, he moved to New Orleans in his youth and already was playing professionally in his twenties, from World War I on. In the 1920s he made his first recordings as a member of the Sam Morgan Jazz Band and gained greater fame, with the resurgence of interest in early New Orleans jazz, as a regular member of the bands of Bunk Johnson and George Lewis. Occasionally, he also led his own band and appeared regularly at Preservation Hall in his later years.

Robinson's widely recognized, individualistic sound was influential with many later traditional and New Orleans-style jazz trombonists in the United States and Europe. These included two proteges whom Robinson tutored personally—Frank Demond and Big Bill Bissonnette; Robinson's influence is more evident in the former.

Big Jim's signature tune, "Ice Cream", was requested at almost all personal appearances after his virtuoso performance of the number in an American Music Records recording made in the 1940s. He also was known for promoting audience participation—especially encouraging dancing whenever feasible.

Jim Robinson died of cancer at the New Orleans Touro Infirmary. Although he usually indicated his date of birth as Christmas Day 1892, no specific parish records are known to substantiate the exact day and year. In his May 5, 1976 obituary in The New York Times, his age is given as 86 without citing a source, suggesting the year of birth to be 1889 or 1890.




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