Award-winning Honokaa High School Jazz Band educator Gary Washburn and violin virtuoso Elizabeth Sekona Robinson proudly announce the release of their collaborative album Lavender.
Lavender is a mixture of tunes written by Gary Washburn combined and arranged in a variety of genres and themes with the accompanied classical expertise of Elizabeth Sekona Robinson. Washburn recognized Elizabeth’s abilities and decided that this was the time and the opportunity to collaborate on the album.
Born and raised on Hawai‘i Island, Robinson has been playing the violin most of her life. She received eleven years of classical training under Ursula Vietze-Koehler, during which time she won the annual Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition twice.
“Mr. Gary Washburn has been a major influence on my musical journey,” says Robinson. “He helped me branch out of the classical world and taught me almost everything I know about improvisation and music theory.”
Musician, composer, and educator, Washburn is something of a musical hero on Hawai‘i Island, where he has directed the Honoka‘a Jazz Band for 40 years. In that time, he has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award, been inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, named a Living Treasure in Hawai‘i, and helped the school achieve an award from the Grammy Foundation in 2011. Washburn has recently received the Ellis Marsalis, Jr/John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award for 2021.
Lavender has twelve songs including a Russian Folk song Dark Eyes, Jules Massenet’s Meditation and Duke Ellington’s I Got It Bad. Washburn’s compositions are Boomba, Ballet, Lavender, La Impression, Sweet Pea, Begonia, Hoe Down, Rendezvous, and Cockeye. Each has its own flavor and flowery notes.
Supporting musicians on the Lavender album are Steve Toma-electric bass, Matt Spencer-bass, Greg Shirley-acoustic bass, Michael Surprenant-drums/bongos, and Bruce David-drums. Recording Engineer- Karl Kasberg. Photography by Sarah Anderson.
Both Washburn and Robinson will be appearing on upcoming episodes of the Songs & Stories podcast.