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  • Writer's pictureW.S. BARNETT

Brandon Robertson: World-Acclaimed Jazz Bassist brings a soulful flavor to Southwest Florida

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Brandon L. Robertson is an internationally acclaimed Upright/Electric Bassist originally from Tampa, FL. Brandon's soulful music will stir your soul and fill your heart. Florida Gulf Coast University is blessed to have him on its faculty. He is inspiring and mentoring some of the greatest jazz musicians in Southwest Florida. I am honored to welcome him to our Beethoven 250 Series!

In 2009, he graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a focus on Jazz Studies. In the same year, Brandon became a member of the popular Florida-based jazz trio The Zach Bartholomew Trio. In 2012, the trio released their first album entitled "Out of This Town", which received notable reviews from jazz critics. In 2015, Brandon performed at the world-famous Dizzy's Coca Cola Club in New York City with the nationally recognized FSU Jazz Sextet joining members of the JALC Orchestra.

Aside from being an active musician, Brandon is also an advocate in Jazz/Music Education. Brandon has presented jazz clinics, workshops, masterclasses, and guest performances in schools K-12 throughout Florida, Georgia, and Texas. In the Spring of 2016, he earned his Master of Music in Jazz Performance at Florida State University. During this two-year period, he directed jazz ensembles, small jazz combos, taught various music-related courses at the University each semester, and performed with traveling national acts visiting the campus. He was also a faculty member of Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College School of Music in Tifton, GA where he taught applied bass and helped assist with the jazz ensemble.

As a prominent bandleader, Brandon has taken his band on multiple national tours, headlining at some of the top jazz venues in the country, such as The Palladium, Open Stage, Blues Alley, Andy’s Jazz Club, The Jazz Showcase, The Jazz Kitchen, Cliff Bells, NightTown, The BOP STOP, The Jazz Estate, Shapeshifter Lab, The Side Door, Twins Jazz, Velvet Note, B-Sharps Jazz Club, and many others. To add to his impressive resume, Brandon has performed with notable acts such as The World Famous Count Basie Orchestra led by director Scotty Barnhart, Vocalist Carmen Bradford, Laila Biali (2019 JUNO Award Winner), Tony Lindsay (11x Grammy Winner and singer for Carlos Santana), Jason Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Marty Morell (Drummer of Pianist Bill Evans: 1968-1974), Vocalist Carla Cook, George Clinton, Vocalist Kenny Washington, Dan Miller (Former Member of The Harry Connick Jr. Big Band), Lew Del Gatto (Former Member of the SNL Band), Charlie McCoy (International Harmonica Player, Country Hall of Fame), Eric Alexander, Wycliffe Gordon, Greg Tardy, Marcus Printup (Member of the JALC Orchestra), Warren Wolf, and Dick Hyman. Brandon has also toured 22 countries in Europe traveling from the Mediterranean, up the capital of Iceland.

Brandon has performed in the South Carolina Jazz Festival, Savannah Jazz Festival, Sanibel Jazz & Blues Festival, The Landings Music Festival, Florida Jazz & Blues Festival, and In May of 2017, Brandon made his debut as a Headlining Act at the 2017 International Jacksonville Jazz Festival in Jacksonville, FL.

Currently, Brandon is the Director of Jazz Studies & Director of the Basketball Band at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL. He is now an honorary member of the Kappa Kappa Psi Mu Upsilon Chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University. In 2018 Brandon was part of a nominated-documentary for a Suncoast Emmy Award for best documentary for educational collegiate programs featuring the FGCU Jazz Ensemble.

Brandon has currently released his first album "Bass’d on A True Story" through Canadian label Slammin Media/Believe Distributions. The album has reached #16 on the iTunes Top 200 Jazz Releases.

I believe the arts are a healing process of life. I can’t imagine my life without music. I believe Beethoven experienced this side of music in the latter part of his life.

Watch the Brandon Robertson Quartet perform!


What is your favorite Beethoven musical work? And why?

Symphony #5 in C minor. It was the first piece I ever played in high school and one of the first classical pieces I was introduced to.

How has Beethoven’s master artistry inspired or influenced you as a creative?

To be honest, I can relate a lot to Beethoven due to the fact he had to use his other senses to “hear” the music he was composing. I too use the elements of life to help me write compositions and truly use my senses to get better when it comes to writing music.

Beethoven was a man of great faith who saw music as a medium that could be experienced anywhere. What are your thoughts on the power of the arts to transform lives?

I believe the arts are a healing process of life. I can’t imagine my life without music. I believe Beethoven experienced this side of music in the latter part of his life.

How did you get started on your musical journey?

This started back in my undergraduate in college. I was challenged to write original music in my jazz arranging class and from there I started writing and exploring the piano and how to really play and learn melodies. This process will be my start to creating new music.

Where are you now on this journey?

I am the Director of Jazz Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University as well as an internationally acclaimed bassist. I am also currently writing new material for my sophomore album

What are some of your accomplishments?

I released my first Jazz album entitled “Bass’d on a True Story” which is available on all major streaming platforms. I performed with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra for 2 years. I have performed in 26 countries and have toured all across the US.

How do you connect your art to your faith?

I look at my faith as an extension of my music. My connection with God is deeply rooted, therefore, I try my best to play the bass from a perspective of life and things I have been through. I always pray in the mornings to ask God to help me be a better man. It’s a hard task to accomplish, but music helps keep me grounded and gives me a voice to speak veraciously about life, music, things that matter to me.

What can you as an artist inherently do to make a difference in the world today?

Continue to share my love for music and showcase that God gave me the talent to share with the world so I plan to continue to foster my craft, share my gift with others, and teach the youth how music can have a great influence on their lives!

Copyright 2020

William S. Barnett

No portion of this content can be copied, electronically stored, or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.

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