Photographs by Michael Fernandez
On Sunday, December 15, 2019, at Robinson Park Recreation Center in Pasadena, just blocks from Jackie Robinson’s childhood home, a packed house enjoyed a very special musical event in celebration of the Jackie Robinson Centennial. Included was Stealin’ Home, Bobby Bradford’s jazz suite in tribute to Jackie Robinson, commissioned by the Baseball Reliquary and performed by an all-star ensemble comprised of Bobby Bradford (cornet), Vinny Golia (woodwinds), Chuck Manning (tenor saxophone), William Roper (tuba), Don Preston (piano), Henry Franklin (bass), and Tina Raymond (drums).
Singer-songwriter Byron Motley opened the program with a selection of songs reflecting Jackie Robinson’s 1945 season playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues and his historic debut in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Motley was accompanied by Ron Pedley (piano), Roberto Vally (bass), and Randy Drake (drums).
Allen Edson, president of the NAACP Pasadena Branch, welcomed the audience, and introduced Kathy Robinson-Young, daughter of Mack Robinson and niece of Jackie Robinson, who offered remarks on behalf of the Robinson family. The event was sponsored by the Baseball Reliquary and the NAACP Pasadena Branch in collaboration with Pasadena Councilmember John J. Kennedy.
Allen Edson (below left), president of the NAACP Pasadena Branch, welcomed the audience. Susana Porras (below right), Councilmember John J. Kennedy’s Liaison, did much of the planning and organizing for the program, including publicity and marketing, and arranging for food service and volunteers.
Composer and bandleader Bobby Bradford was among the first to arrive, along with his cornet, of course . . . .
Vinny Golia and Tina Raymond relax before the performance . . . .
Singer-songwriter Byron Motley and his band open the program before a full house . . . .
Byron was accompanied by Ron Pedley on piano . . . .
The bassist was Roberto Vally and the drummer was Randy Drake . . . .
Following a brief intermission, Bobby Bradford’s ensemble swung into action, with Don Preston featured on piano . . . .
William Roper on tuba and vocals . . . .
Chuck Manning on tenor saxophone and Vinny Golia on alto saxophone . . . .
Henry “Skipper” Franklin on bass and Tina Raymond on drums . . . .
Below left: Byron Motley with Kathy Robinson-Young and Delano Robinson (Mack Robinson’s widow). Below right: Delano Robinson with William Roper and Terry Cannon.