Robin Kenyatta, 62; Alto Saxophonist Had a Wide Range of Musical Styles
Robin Kenyatta, 62, an eclectic alto saxophonist known for his experimentation with wide-ranging styles, including free jazz and hard bop, died in his sleep Oct. 26 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He was scheduled to perform in the Swiss city of Lucerne two days later.
Born Robert Prince Haynes in Moncks Corner, S.C., and brought up in Harlem, he began playing saxophone at 14 and later the flute. He changed his name to Kenyatta in his youth, in homage to Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta.
In the 1960s, the musician collaborated in concerts and recordings with saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Archie Shepp, trumpeter Bill Dixon and trombonist Roswell Rudd. In the 1970s, he recorded albums for Atlantic Records, including “Gypsy Man,” “Terra Nova” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” Perhaps his biggest hit came in 1973, with a cover recording of the theme from “Last Tango in Paris.”
Kenyatta returned to the United States two years ago and taught at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., after living briefly in France and for 18 years in Lausanne. He toured and recorded in Europe and ran a music school and store called Hello Jazz in Lausanne.