Hank Roberts

Decades: 1980s 1990s 2000s


1954, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. Cellist - and until recently, professional chef - Roberts has become one of the busiest musicians in New York’s down-town scene. His music is wide-open experimental and heedless of idiomatic boundaries. It acknowledges his hillbilly roots with a comic barn dance or two, but moves out towards sleek rock, free sound exploration, anything and everything. First heard among the massed strings of Michael Mantler’s Orchestra on 13 (1975), Roberts began to attract rave notices for his work with guitarist Bill Frisell. The cellist leads his own group Birds Of Prey and co-leads two others - Miniature (with Tim Berne and Joey Baron) and Arcado, a string trio with Mark Dresser and Mark Feldman. Roberts is also a distinctive singer, his vocals having an ethereal quality that has prompted critics to make comparisons with Milton Nascimento and Robert Wyatt. Often doctoring his voice with echo and tape-delay, Roberts uses it to expand the...

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