PERFORMER / TEACHER / PRODUCEREven at his young age Bobby has years of experience professionally performing and producing at the highest levels in multiple styles of music. For years he played with the world famous DJ Skee’s Skeetox band, currently plays organ for the San Diego Padres, and has performed with Ice Cube, Jesse McCartney, Xzibit, Lil’ John, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Bobby Brown, The Glenn Miller big band and the Tom Kubis Big Band at Goldenwest. Bobby plays in San Diego's premier corporate top 40 band, The Mighty Untouchables, in addition to several original projects including Tiffy Jane and the Kicks as well as his own jazz piano and organ combos. He's also a founding member of 'Western Standard Time', an 18 piece ensemble that plays the traditional ska of the Skatalites with big band arrangements.
Bobby is also an accomplished composer and producer. His music can be heard through multiple outlets including television, movies, terrestrial, streaming and satellite radio, and video games. He also maintains an active roster of students, teaching a wide range of styles to students of all ages and walks of life.
Since 2010 he has lived in the University Heights area of San Diego, although he continues to work extensively in Hollywood and all of Southern California. He has a passion for moving others through his music, whether it be through performing, teaching or composing.
Today I worked on pieces for two different listings. At my house in Lomita, soul suckingly situated between a sheet metal shop and a Korean Barbershop, I worked on a Dancehall/reggaeton track. That may seem unusual for those who know me, but the ugly reality is that I probably have more experience tracking that kind of stuff than anything else because of all the hours I’ve logged in Mark Mohr’s studio doing Christafari cuts. I’ve been on every Christafari/Avionblackman/’Imisi/Solomon Jabby album since 2003, playing and creating reggae and dancehall. So now I got a crack at one all my own: a simple instrumental track between 1 and 3 minutes in length.
Then I took a trip over to my mom’s where my piano resides, and continued to pound out light new agey solo piano stuff for a listing that’s asking for ‘inspirational instrumentals’. I started writing some of this on Friday, then continued last night after church, and actually kind of came up with one while playing AT church last night during a time when I was playing background stuff.
These two worlds are obviously very different, and that makes it fun. Whenenver I’m over the inspirational piano stuff, I can go dig in to a bunch of heavy dancehall stuff and vice versa.
Then later on today I headed down to Huntington Beach for Tom Kubis’s big band. I asked him about Paul Smith and he knows him well, and worked with him for years in Steve Allen’s band. He had lots of amazing stories which I may recount later.
He also gave me a compliment on a fill I did before Benny came in with a sax solo. Freaking sweet!!!!
This Fall my employer Sandra Clay (owner of A-muse music) told Eitan and I that Paul Smith was playing a concert in November at his home and asked us if she’d like her to buy tickets for us all. Two months later I found myself seated in a room he clearly used for performance and practice, with probably 80 chairs setup facing two pianos on a makeshift bandstand. The crowd was mostly Palos Verdes silver tops, and at 28, I was the second youngest person in the house. Annette Smith announced the band, and brought them up one by one: Alex Smith, Paul’s grandson and a classmate of mine from High School on drums; the bass player who was older and who’s name escapes me, and finally Paul Smith, about 6’4″, who lumbered up to the smaller of the two pianos with a bandage on his head and pretty much instantly began the first tune.
I immediately noticed that he didn’t dominate the instrument like he once did from a purely technical side, but all his musical instincts and abilities were still there. This was Ella Fitzgerald’s piano player for about 25 years. Reading more about him afterward, I found out that he was born in 1922, which makes him 87! In light of that, this man performed incredibly. He had a feathery touch wherever he wanted to. He played epic intros on lots of the songs, including 2 choruses of ‘Over the Rainbow’ brilliantly reharmonized, and he accompanied his daughter on a couple songs and he shined in what he chose to play behind her. Accompanying is after all how he put food on his table.
So it was a good night of music, despite the fact that his guest artists detracted from the main performance. Alex introduced me to him afterward, and I got to shake that huge mitt of his. Check out this video of him accompanying Ella. Go straight to minute 2:40 to hear him unload. 87 years young! And I was in his house drinking his punch.
Here’s the rough Demo I threw together yesterday morning before work. I emailed this out to Paul and Anna so they’d have something to chew on before coming in last night.
The session went smoothly once we got started. I edited it a little bit this morning, but I have to run off to play some music for a big time company luncheon down in Westwood.
Paul and I were both stoked.