May 15, 2017
Tonight, prominent player in the Grand Rapids jazz scene Robin Connell will be honored as the West Michigan Jazz Society’s Musician of the Year at a banquet. The pianist/vocalist/educator performs frequently in the area; both solo and with local collaborators including her husband Paul Brewer and vocalist Kathy Lamar. Local Spins reports that “Connell clinched the award because she’s a jazz ambassador in the community, and contributes to youth programs and activities that help pass jazz on to future generations. Above that … Connell has served as an inspiration to others, spending countless hours on the jazz scene as a performer and educator.”
Originally from Detroit and Northport, Connell’s family bought a piano before they bought a car. After falling deeply enthralled by jazz, she went to Grand Valley and the University of Northern Colorado to study music theory and composition. She met her husband when they were both teaching at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and moved to Grand Rapids in 1999 after Paul had accepted a position at Aquinas College.