By Tia Kalmon
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – UTC alum and Grammy Award winning percussionist, Forrest Robinson, gave UTC a rhythm to drum and a West African beat when he came to visit Monday.
“I have a love music. If there is no music industry around, I’m still going to love music,” Robinson said.
He performed many original pieces that gave him a standing ovation. Robinson ended the night with a bang, performing with the UTC Percussion Ensemble directed by Dr. Monte Coulter. Robinson concluded the ensemble with a drum solo, complete with twirling drum sticks in between beats.
Robinson conveyed a love of Chattanooga and a remembrance of friends as he called to a couple of audience members by name.
“The main thing that I wanted to bring here tonight was that everyone here sees Chattanooga as a very special city with special gifts with a lot of talented people and there’s a whole lot to learn anywhere and everywhere including Chattanooga,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he expressed his love for music at a very young age, beating on pots and pans to find that perfect rhythm.
“Music from its onset which was literally since I was a baby, it exists in a way that let me know that there is something much bigger than me out there that is just really beautiful and it literally helps my outlook on life,” Robinson said.
Robinson left Chattanooga in 1994. He has made a name for himself as a renowned drummer and pianist performing with names like India Arie, Victor Wooten, Joe Sample, TLC, Arrested Development, Hikaru Ataka, The Crusaders and many others. He has traveled the world as a musical performer and recording artist playing live on “The Opera Winfrey Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “Live with Regis and Kelly” to just name a few.
“People like Forrest Robinson and songs like this with people with their heart in it like this, really do give it the character, kind of returning back to the soul,” Jarod Soltis, a senior percussion player from Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. said.