CoM&L - with Bob Baldwin
In Bob Baldwin’s 2011 book, “You Better Ask Somebody!”—his guide, as its subtitle notes, to Staying on Top of Your Career in the Friggin Music Business—he writes of seeing “veteran artists, who should have been financially set for life, crying in their beer, sharing with me some … contractual regrets ….” Born Robert Garfield Baldwin Jr., the jazz keyboardist had a few such regrets of his own. According to his website, Baldwin recorded an album for Atlantic Jazz in 1994, but the label folded and took Baldwin’s State of Mind with it. Thereafter he sought to record independently.
His father played piano as what the younger Baldwin calls a “hobby,” but his fellow hobbyists included jazz greats Max Roach and Art Davis on at least one occasion. Baldwin Sr. took his son along for some of those sessions, and he began giving his namesake piano lessons when the younger Baldwin was four. In 1986 the son came into his own with an ensemble called the Bob Baldwin/Al Orlo Project, which opened for trumpeter Tom Browne (“Funkin’ for Jamaica (N.Y.)”). That connection opened doors to other gigs, including ones with Grover Washington Jr., Phil Perry, and Will Downing.
A 1988 Baldwin recording led to several albums for Atlantic, including Rejoice (1990), but the joy in that deal fled by the mid-1990s, as mentioned above. During the Oughts Baldwin released more than half a dozen albums , among them BobBaldwin.com, a 9/11 tribute titled Standing Tall, and Brazil Chill. In 2010 Baldwin’s Never Can Say Goodbye gave tribute to Michael Jackson. Since then his efforts have included an album of material inspired by Stevie Wonder’s music, as well as a pair of 2016 recordings, The Brazilian-American Soundtrack and The Gift of Christmas. Not just through his music but also through his writings, Baldwin himself stands tall as, in the words of the biography on his website, “a human being in control of his destiny [who has] a legacy of artistic benevolence to pass on.”
- Edward A. Hall
Host & Exec. Producer, CoM&L
Edward Austin Hall
FAS Editorial Director