The Phoenix Project traces its origin to a jazz festival held in Connecticut toward the end of 2017. Singer/songwriter Robin Lyn Treger was performing at the weekend-long event, following the recent release of Seasons, her CD of jazz standards. Pianist/songwriter Steve Starger was in the audience that evening. Having reconnected after 20 years, Robin and Steve had started composing songs together in a style they called American roots music – rock, blues, R&B, country, Appalachian, New Orleans, etc.
At the jazz festival, Steve shared a table with Anna Zuckerman-Vdovenko, Robin’s photographer and friend. Anna was shooting Robin’s performance, and at one point she turned to Steve and said: “My god, she’s a phoenix! She just keeps rising!” Anna should know – she had seen Robin through her, Robin’s, long, ultimately successful battle with cancer. Given the power and grace of Robin’s performance that night, Anna’s reference to the fabled bird – a symbol of rebirth and regeneration – was more than appropriate.
Under the rubric of The Phoenix Project, Steve and Robin began recording their songs, bringing in some of the best musicians in the Northeast – some of the best in the industry – to enrich the material. The result can be heard on the group’s four-song EP, titled Play it Twice.
Robin Lyn Treger
Robin Lyn Treger is a New York City-raised, Connecticut-based singer/songwriter. She is the daughter of world renowned violin virtuoso Charles Treger and the soprano Deborah Alden. As a young singer Robin studied voice with her mother and spent summers in upstate New York at the famed Seagle Music Colony, honing her acting and singing skills in the productions mounted there. Robin’s professional career began in the mid-‘70s in Texas, performing rock, blues and country standards in clubs. In 1979 Robin moved to Connecticut, and for the next 20 years she performed with bands around the region, singing disco, pop, rock and everything in between. In the late ‘90s, Robin joined the popular Standing Room Only Cabaret, performing the Great American Songbook along the East Coast. Her smooth Jazz CD “Seasons” was released in 2017. Robin has enjoyed the accolades of fans and colleagues, who praise her as “an exceptional vocalist with a combination of expressiveness, taste, and soul in fine balance.”
After decades of performing all genres of music, Robin has come full circle, back to the American roots music that was her passion at the beginning and continues to be with the Phoenix Project.
Steve Starger is a keyboardist and composer from Connecticut. His mother, a skilled pianist, started Steve on piano lessons when he was 9 years old. Steve gave up classical piano studies to concentrate on rock ‘n’ roll and jazz when he was in high school. In college, where he majored in English, he fell in with various groups of musicians, from folkies to jazzers. At one point, he took up blues guitar and played with numerous groups on campus, including a jug band.
In the ‘60s Steve played organ in the psychedelic jazz-rock cult band NGC 4594. The group put out a single on Smash Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, during the summer of 1967, the “Summer of Love.” In the ‘70s Steve co-founded Sun Ship, an eight-piece jazz-rock band for which he wrote his first songs. The band signed with Capitol Records and released an LP, “Into the Sun,” in 1974. In support of the album, the band toured, performing with such acts as Steely Dan, Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band, Quicksilver, and Hot Tuna.
Steve’s involvement with the Phoenix Project represents the fulfillment of his long-time dream of writing and playing music inspired by the rich sonic tapestry known as American roots music.