Robert K. Quartet
The Robert K. Quartet is built around the unique vocal stylings of Robert K. A true bass voice with powerful, velvety resonant sound. The Robert K. Quartet performs popular jazz standards and draws heavily on the works of Sinatra, Bennett, Fitzgerald & Ellington etc… and even throws in an original song or two. He not only sings but plays sax as well allowing instrumental versions of tunes like Black Orpheus, Harlem Nocturne, & Take Five to give variety to his show.
What do they sound like? To the left are some representative samples of their music.
About Robert K.
Growing up Robert K. was steeped in his father’s music. His dad, Ken Nelson (Victoria’s top tenor sax player through the 1950’s & into the 1970’s) instilled in his son a love of music. Robert K. has played a wide variety of music over the years, invariably being asked to be the bass singer in whatever group he was in. In recent years his love of music has led him back to his roots… the sounds of the big band era.
In Robert K’s own words. “I love to sing and I love many of the jazz standards my dad used to play, so it was just a matter of arranging them in the correct key for my voice… I had played sax when I was younger but a few years ago I decided it was time to get serious about it so I have worked hard on it over the past few years and I love playing… the sensation is very much like singing. I think that’s because it uses much of the same physically as singing. Dad is gone now but I can feel him smile when I play (The tenor sax I play originally belonged him). The most important thing to me is to try to convey the feeling of the music. Each song has a message and I try to be sensitive to that and communicate it in my performance.”
Phil Newns (keyboards)
Phil is well known as a jazz pianist, vocalist, bandleader and educator. He studied music at the University of Natal in South Africa and later through the University of Toronto. Phil spent many years on the cabaret circuit as a professional musician back in South Africa and neighboring African countries. In 1990, as Canadian Champion, Phil represented Canada in the Yamaha International Organ Festival held in Mexico City that year placing 6th in the world. His extensive professional career credits include: 1991 British Columbia Winter Games score, Festival Producer and Corporate Entertainer, Music Director of many major theatrical productions ‐ most recently “The Boyfriend”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “In the Heights”, 3 “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables”. Phil is also Artistic Director for Choirs in Concert; an annual fundraiser for special needs people in the Cowichan Valley. His jazz bands, choirs and private students achieve top honors in festivals across Canada each year including the annual Nationals ‐ Music Fest Canada.
Brad Hawkes (Drums/percussion)
Brad started drumming in 1964, playing along with songs on a Jute Box during sock hops. In the early 70s, he joined a band led by his older brother. He played the hot spots in and around Prince George. He started playing congas at that time in a coffee house. Drumming took a backseat to University until the late 80s. He started his comeback by playing in Mass. During the mid 90s, percussion became the main thing he did outside of his day job. He has specialized in percussion, playing instruments including a stringed flamenco cajon. He currently plays with a number of songwriters and bands, up and down Vancouver Island. I recently started recording. He has been featured on 27 CD’s with music styles including folk, bluegrass, celtic, jazz, rock, latin, and blues.
Bill Kent (bass)
Bill Kent has logged 35 years of teaching countless Victoria-area students to play jazz standards and improvise on the piano. Bill’s passion for music remains unabated. As a solo pianist, bass player and leader of a number of trio’s over the years, Bill has performed at many Victoria restaurants, lounges, weddings and other events.