Bob Baldwin (keyboard)

NEW YORK ? Mount Vernon, NY native Bob Baldwin, Jazz Artist, Radio Host and Music Presenter, is an unsung herowhen it comes to the Contemporary/Smooth Jazz genreand is on the move. With a vision to take his gift of music to bless those less fortunate, and raise funds for organizations in need of help, Bob Baldwin adds Arts Advocate and Educator to his resume.
On July 2011,Baldwin released his 16thCD ?NewUrbanJazz.com 2 / Re-Vibe? on Trippin? N Rhythm Records. The CD which debuted on Billboard Jazz at #14,and features Glenn Jones,Darren Rahn, Ragan Whiteside, Joey Sommerville, along with Atlantic Starr legend Porter Carroll, Jr. The reviews have been positive nonetheless.
Amazon?s Editorial Review stated: ?Bob Baldwin s nationally syndicated radio program ‘The NewUrbanJazz Lounge’ now airs on over 20 radio stations in 10 states and is broadcast across the African American Public Radio Service and the internet to a weekly audience of over a million listeners. This becomes the perfect vehicle to introduce the next volume in his highly popular and bestselling series NewUrbanJazz.com aptly titled, NewUrbanJazz.com 2 /Re-Vibe.
Over more than two decades and 16 records, Bob Baldwin has carved out and more than solidified his place as one of the chief progenitors of true urban jazz. When you listen to Baldwin?s cuts, more than just hearing, you feel them as he has long had a way of digging deep into your soul and touching that inner sweet spot. NUJ.com 2/ Re-Vibe showcases Baldwin in the thick of his element fusing funky Contemporary Jazz with Gospel, Hip-Hop and Brazilian all with a strong dose of heavy urban flavoring.
Bob Baldwin fans will rejoice at the arrival of this his finest work to date and the early buzz on the streets indicates that this NewUrbanJazz.com 2/ Re-Vibe will re-invigorate not only his massive following, but alsocontinue to build upon it.?
Baldwin continued to bring the music to the people by hosting two Listening Parties to celebrate the release of the 16th CD. Trumpets Jazz Club and Restaurant in Montclair, NJ hosted the first listening party. Baldwin then turned around and came back home to Westchester County to host the second listening party at ArtsWestchester located at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, NY. The former bank now converted into the Arts Exchange is the premiere venue in Westchester County for The Arts.
Hosting the listening party there solidifies Baldwin?s commitment to The Arts on a local level and fulfills his role as curator for the Jazz Series, NewUrbanJazz at ArtsWestchester. Baldwin gave the audience what they were looking for, with a one-on-one question and answer session with the artist. For two hours, attendees had the opportunity to hear how the CD came about, and ask the artist questions:from where he has recently travelled, to where he is going in the future. Fans were also treated to particular cuts from the CD. To cap off the evening, Baldwin fans were able to follow him over to The Lazy Lounge on Mamaroneck Avenue, where he took part in a jam session that included Gil Parris, Curtis Winchester, and special guest star,former New York Yankee Bernie Williams. Porter Carroll, Jr. stopped by and took part in the jam session.
Bob Baldwin?s commitment to the next generation and Arts Education led him to team up with long time friend Marion Meadow to take part in the 25th Annual Jazz-N-June Festival in Huntsville, Alabama. The June 2011 jazz concert benefited the Huntsville Tennessee Valley Jazz Society. The Jazz Society?s mission is to sponsor, encourage and promote The Arts through youth development, health awareness and educational activities in the Tennessee Valley.
February 2011, Baldwin traveled half way around the world to attend the Dubai International Jazz Festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This international gig exposed Baldwin to a country rich in resources. Baldwin had the opportunity to produce his radio show NewUrbanJazz Lounge, giving his audience a flavor for music from the Middle East. Baldwin?s wealth of knowledge when it comes to Jazz exposed his audience to artists that would even be heard on American radio. The music moved Baldwin enough to produce the song ?Arabian Sweets? for his upcoming CD ?NewUrbanJazz.com 2 / Re-Vibe.?
The unexpected and untimely death of Pop icon, Michael Jackson, on June 25, 2010 led Baldwin to contact the family to ask if he could honor the Pop icon with a tribute CD. After receiving the blessings from the estate of Michael Jackson in February,2010, Baldwin released his first CD of the new decade (his 14th overall) simply titled ?Never CanSay Goodbye?, a tribute to Michael Jackson.
?At this point in my career, it?s really about taking my gifts and using them to help others,feedpeople, and develop people?s careers, giving them some valuable lessons in musicalong the way, as well as how to conduct yourself in a business setting, both on a localand national platform,? says Baldwin.Most recently, it?s been about creating programsthat speak to these needs, as well as feeding the musical palettes of our incrediblemusic audience, which has a double benefit.
Baldwin was the Curator of the NewUrbanJazz @ the Arts Exchange in White Plains,NY, with the blessings of ArtsWestchester, with the hopes that it will continue. ?We hadan incredible lineup of people,and the response from the community has beenwonderful. It was a nice shot in the arm for Westchester residents.?
The commitment to use his gift to help others led Bob Baldwin to take on the role of educator to present workshops that would pair young musicians with the pros. Collaborating with ArtsWestchester and the White Plains Youth Bureau, Baldwin presented a workshop that would prepare young people for a career in music. Baldwin stated ?What we wanted to do is create a music theater piece that also featured a workshop element,? he said, ?so that the people that were on stage were allowed to share their experiences on the road in terms of the music business and musical experience with some young kids and try to implant some new seeds so that the torch can be passed.?
2010 also brought forth the desire to produce two shows on behalf of Haiti.?Westchester Musicians for Haiti? was able to bring together some of the cream of theWestchester crop under one musical umbrella to raise some funds for the ArthurSchweitzer Hospital in Deshapeles, Haiti. He also produced the ?Jazz for Haiti?, whichfeatured a different blend of Contemporary and Latin Jazz at the Newark SymphonyHall (Chieli Minucci, Dave Valentin, Ruben Rodriguez, Chembo Corniel, and up andcoming shining stars like Ragan Whiteside, to name a few), raising awareness of thetragedies of Haiti and shining some light on the American Red Cross, who has assisted tremendously in that region. His ?Jazz for Haiti? program raised over $60,000.00 for the American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey.
Although he has been running his production company since 1997, Baldwin hasreleased 5 records on 5 different labels since 2000. With labels collapsing and going outof business more now than ever, his last 5 discs have managed to make the Billboardtop 10 Contemporary Jazz.
The pianist tries to never allow his business acumen go to waste. He independently produced his CD (distributed through the powerful Virgin/EMI Network)?Bobbaldwin.com?, which sold an impressive 60,000 units. He also used his businessskills to develop and negotiate his recording deals with upstart labels 215 Records,NuGroove Records as well as Narada Jazz, all of which have since gone under.
His radio program “NewUrbanJazz Lounge with Bob Baldwin” is changing the sound ofContemporary Jazz in the midst of the debilitating hierarchy that is Smooth Jazz, whichhas lost over 18 stations in the last 20 months.The radio show covers ContemporaryJazz going back to the 70’s, which helps secure its legacy, but also brings to light newartists and fuses Urban and Brazilian flavors. It’s the perfect fix for Contemporary Jazzfans from all walks of life, and later this year, look for an all out internet blitz for the new programming.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN?.
Bob Baldwin was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y. His father, Robert Baldwin, Sr., was also anaccomplished jazz pianist and upright bassist in his own right.Dad?s brief Pianist careerincluded working with Keter Betts (Ella Fitzgerald?s main bassist) and Art Davis (the lastbassist for the legendary John Coltrane), both Westchester residents.Little Bobby Baldwin used to go to his dad?s jam sessions around county and studied the masters ofthe Westchester region, such local stars as Lou Derry, Jimmy Hill, Fred Smith, CarmenLeggio and others.
Fortunately, this journeyman was blessed to be taught to play the piano by his father atage 4. Meanwhile, we should seriously consider his musical influences as a youngsterwith the likes of the aforementioned Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, ChickCorea, EWF, Joe Sample, Ramsey Lewis, Miles Davis, and George Duke. His musical voicings are a by-product of these artists. Yes, it?s obvious this cast of prominent players made a profound impact on Baldwin?s musical journey. Even after studying accounting, business and broadcasting in college, he never strayed far from his firstlove.
In 1989, his first CD, a concept record under the artist name ?The Dream Featuring Bob Baldwin.? That record would eventually lead him to meet the legendary Herbie Hancock at a Sony Innovators ceremony in Beverly Hill in 1989. As one of his childhood idols, the meeting with Hancock inspired him during his own formative years, and even today. He was selected from over 300 applicants, including the group Straight Ahead out of Detroit. Singer/Songwriter/Musician Roberta Flack was the finalist judge. Both Baldwin and Flack would eventually sign to Atlantic Jazz in the early 1990?s. It was there Baldwin recorded ?Rejoice? and ?Reflections Of Love.? The albums featured luminaries like Poogie Bell, Lenny White, Marion Tom Browne, James Robinson, Noel Pointer, Freddy V (Average White Band), to name a select few.
In 1986 he formed The Bob Baldwin/Al Orlo Project in New Rochelle, NY. The Baldwin/Orlo Project performed at the legendary Bottom Line in New York City leadingto his first production with trumpeter Tom Browne. This opportunity led to his first albumand eventually to his two-album deal with Atlantic Jazz Records. The Project alsoproved to be a stepping stone for other band members.Many went on to work asinstrumentalist men for some of the most popular jazz and pop bands in the worldincluding: Spyro Gyra, Michel Camilo, Paul Simon, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, TheSilos, The Average White Band, The Temptations, Ben E. King, the Broadway play”Momma Mia”, and Chick Corea.
With Baldwin’s natural ability to weave life’s experience into music while creatinginventive harmonies, he doesn’t really need to fill his releases with high-powered guestappearances. However, he has used the likes of Roy Ayers, Gerald Albright DeanJames, Jeff Kashiwa, Dave Mann, Chieli Minucci, Phil Perry, Jocelyn Brown, KimWaters, Will Downing, Marion Meadows, Najee, Jocelyn Brown, the late GroverWashington, Jr., and Noel Pointer, Tito Puente alumni Ray Vega, and Brazilian PercussionCafe’ Da Silva on previous recordings over the years.
ALBUM NUGGETS
His 2009 release, “Lookin’ Back” is a reflection of his career, dating back to his firstrecordings of 1988 and features Chuck Loeb, Marion Meadows, Will Downing, GroverWashington, Jr., and Tom Browne. “On ?Lookin’ Back?, I hope the career has a sense ofconsistency and longevity, but musically, I must note that my voice is not nearlycomplete,” says Baldwin.
His 2008 release, “NewUrbanJazz.com” fusedJazz, and Funk with vocals. It also launchedhis new radio show on WJZZ in 2008, which allowed the program to grow from there. The2008 offering features Jocelyn Brown, Phil Perry, Freddie Jackson, Marion Meadows,Najee, Frank McComb, and Atlanta stars Joey Sommerville and Toni Redd.
2007 brought the release of his live DVD from Croton on the Hudson, NY, home of thelargest Contemporary Jazz Festival in Westchester County, NY, 20 miles north of theHudson.
His 2005 release ?All In A Days Work? on 215 Records was certainly no departure fromhis winning formula as a composer, arranger keyboardist, and producer.His trip to Brazil was life-changing as he has since woven his Brazilian-Latin influences in most of his music from that day forth. ?Spending six weeks in Rio and Ipanema allowed me to feel the spirit of the people and get into their music and their beautiful aura,? says Baldwin. The end result is the ?Brazil Chill? disc of 2004 (a440 Records) and featured Brazil hipsters Ivan Conte and Alex Malheiros of the group Azymuth, Armando Marcal, Caf