...was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. At the age of five, he taught himself to play the piano by ear from listening to the 78-rpm records of Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw he had discovered in his grandmother’s attic. Phonograph records were his toys...in lieu of a teddy bear he slept with an album of rumbas. He began singing jazz at the age of eight and began classical and jazz piano study with Gene Confer at age nine. At sixteen he began performing professionally around Portland.
From early childhood, Robert’s thoughts were filled mostly with jazz. He had memorized the tunes, the arrangements and the artists who made jazz and the big band era great. It was natural for him to want to work in the entertainment capitol, so he moved to Hollywood, California. After just four weeks, he saw his name in lights when he performed at the Silver Screen Jazz Club on Sunset Boulevard. Later, he shared the stage with Anita O'Day at the Vine St. Bar & Grill. His composition “That Was The End of Me” was featured in the Columbia Pictures’ release, “Miracle Beach”, which led him to start his own publishing company, Jobobal Music. He also went on to compose for television commercials and film, and has appeared in commercials and print ads.
...he performed at many of LA’s top nightclubs and hotels, and it was at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena (where he led a quintet four nights a week) where fate brought him together with one of his idols: legendary composer/arranger Pete Rugolo. Robert was in the midst of recording his first CD entitled “New Standards” and Rugolo agreed to write the liner notes. The disc received substantial radio play and rave reviews.
He then went on to conceive, produce, music direct, design and perform in the concert, “Pete Rugolo Conducts...”, the first ever retrospective of Rugolo’s body of work. The concert took place at the Newmark Theater, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, with Mr. Rugolo conducting the Art Abrams Swing Machine Big Band and featuring vocalist Rebecca Kilgore. The success of that evening inspired his second CD, “Textures in Hi-Fi”, which he recorded in Hollywood with Rugolo’s spectacular 19-piece, all-star orchestra. Featured on the disc are such legendary musicians as Pete & Conte Candoli, Buddy Childers & Jack Costanzo. After the CD release concert at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, Robert and Pete were the headliners of the 20th annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, where they performed the album with the Carlton Jackson-Dave Mills Big Band.
He has continued performing his music in such diverse locations as Switzerland, St. Thomas, New York City, San Francisco, Alaska, Singapore, Bali, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Austria, Chengdu, Shanghai & Seoul.
... in “Tru”, the two-act one-man play about Truman Capote, written by Jay Presson Allen and directed by Helena de Crespo for Triangle Productions.
Currently Robert is composing and arranging new music and spending time in the recording studio. He released a Christmas single in December 2021, "Wassail Beat Suite", an 8-minute instrumental jazz opus based on "Here We Come A-Wassailing", now available for digital download. Much more music to come in 2022!
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