Robisong Consultants president and CEO Christopher “Chris” Roberts has amassed over three decades of experience in the music industry, developing a reputation as both a trained classical pianist and successful record company executive at Universal Music. As president of the Universal Music Classics & Jazz division, Christopher Roberts worked to renew the relevance of the classical and jazz genres, spurring the development of labels including Deutsche Grammophon and Verve.
In a July 2016 article, Guardian critic and reporter Seth Colter Walls predicted that the world may soon see a new golden era of jazz. The genre has enjoyed a resurgence of media attention and popularity in recent years, due in part to collaborations between contemporary jazz musicians and popular recording artists.
Blackstar, the final album by the late pop icon David Bowie, features an array of established jazz performers, and in 2014, Lady Gaga partnered with vocal jazz powerhouse Tony Bennett to produce a full length album, Cheek to Cheek.
In the rap world, Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 release To Pimp a Butterfly featured accomplished jazz musicians, including saxophone player Kamasi Washington and pianist Robert Glasper. The album garnered widespread critical acclaim, the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, and a nomination for Album of the Year.
The growing presence of jazz in popular music coincides with increasing respect for the genre in the classical sphere. Although classical festivals have historically featured a dearth of jazz musicians, events such as Mostly Mozart at the Lincoln Center have begun to showcase new jazz compositions, while jazz pieces are receiving more attention from both chamber ensembles and critics alike.
Navigating an illustrious career through a tumultuous period in the music industry, Christopher Roberts provided visionary leadership for the world’s largest recording company.