Bio: Across a career for which a two decade milestone was achieved in 2013 with his twentieth CD Twenty, Bob Baldwin has proven to be one of the most ubiquitous and ingenious chameleons of Contemporary Jazz – both in his own projects and those he has endeavored upon for others. Recently, he has twice honored the canons of giants: Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson (2010) and Betcha By Golly Wow: The Songs of Thom Bell (2012).
For 2015, Baldwin turns to the sprawling catalog of Stevie Wonder one of his finest projects ever: MelloWonder: Songs in the Key of Stevie – an unprecedented one-from-the-heart that has taken him two years to lovingly assemble.
MelloWonder is 14 songs -12 covers and two originals – primarily featuring Baldwin on a battery of ivories, keyboards and synthesizers along with special guests that include saxophonists Ryan Kilgore (currently a member of Stevie’s Wonderlove band) and Najee, and flautist Regan Whiteside. Highlights include “Creepin’,” “Lately,” “Love’s Light in Flight,” “You and I” and “Rocket Love.”
In addition to his work as a musician, Bob Baldwin hosts a nationally syndicated weekly radio show (‘The NewUrbanJazz Lounge’ broadcast across the African American Public Radio Service and the Internet) and author of the music biz E-book: “You Better Ask Somebody (Staying On Top of Your Career in the ‘Friggin’ Music Business)” (2011).
Bob Baldwin [born Robert Garfield Baldwin, Jr. in Mt. Vernon, New York] is a jazz artist, composer, keyboardist, producer, arranger, radio host and author. His father, Robert Garfield Baldwin Sr. who recorded one solo LP under his leadership, played piano with bassists Keter Betts and Art Davis. Bob’s cousin is renowned pianist Larry Willis so he clearly stems from musical excellence.
Bob began being taught piano by his father at age 4. His musical influences include Herbie Hancock, Patrice Rushen, Chick Corea, Earth Wind & Fire, Ramsey Lewis, Stevie Wonder and the late, greats Joe Sample, Miles Davis and George Duke. In 1986, he formed The Bob Baldwin/Al Orlo Project in New Rochelle, NY, performing at the legendary club the Bottom Line in New York City, opening up for Tom Browne of “Funkin’ for Jamaica” fame, and this led to his first production effort with trumpeter Tom Browne on a gospel-jazz offering entitled “No Longer I”.
In addition to plum sideman work complimenting the likes of singers Phil Perry and Will Downing, and the late, legendary instrumentalists Grover Washington, Jr. and Noel Pointer, The Dream Featuring Bob Baldwin released a concept project in 1988, prophetically titled I’ve Got a Long Way to Go on Malaco Jazz, and that led to Bob meeting his heroes Roberta Flack and Herbie Hancock at a Sony Innovators ceremony in Beverly Hills. Bob was selected by the aforementioned Flack from over 300 applicants and that led to an eventual signing by then President Sylvia Rhone to the Atlantic Jazz label. He released from the exposure recording Rejoice (1990) and Reflections of Love (1992) featuring Lenny White, Will Downing, Marion Meadows, and James Robinson, among others. A third album for Atlantic Jazz, State of Mind was recorded in 1994 but never released due to the shuttering of the label. “I remember that day like it was yesterday, sitting in the office talking to the suits on Dec 1, 1992, watching the Christmas tree outside the Atlantic office window, being lifted up at the Rockefeller Center in New York, getting the bad news about the label. That’s when I really started my track about recording independently.”
Humanitarian Note: Baldwin was the Curator of the NewUrbanJazz @ the Arts Exchange in White Plains, NY. Collaborating with ArtsWestchester and the White Plains Youth Bureau, Baldwin presented a workshop that would prepare young people for a career in music. In 2010, his Jazz for Haiti program raised over $60,000.00 for the American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey. And in 2013 he produced the benefit concert “Music for Dave” to assist Latin Jazz legend and stroke victim, flutist Dave Valentin, with funding for his ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
Twitter Handle: @baldwin77