Photo by Sheila Schloss
Bill Blythe's Dixieland Festival At Sea, 1999
Bob is a native of La Crosse, Wisconsin. He began playing piano at an early age, and by the time
he was 11, he was playing duets with Freddie Slack. At the same time he began studying stride piano
with Stan Sidie, Freddie Slack's teacher. His interest in classic jazz was supported and encouraged by
his parents and stimulated by his discovery of Eddie Condon and his wonderful New York jazz bands from
the 1940s and 1950s, still one of his favorite band leaders.
In 1974 Bob was awarded a National Endowment For The Arts Fellowship to study with the great Ralph Sutton. Since then
he has appeared at many festivals, tours, cruises, and concerts including the Sacramento Jubilee (since 1974), San Diego Jazz Festival,
(since 1994), the L.A. Classic, the Bix Fest in Davenport, Iowa, and many others. He also has more than 30 recordings
to his credit. Bob says, "My most memorable moment in music was in 1990, as the first American jazz musician,
along with cornetist Tom Saunders, to perform in Hungary since the communist take-over of that country."
As one of the premier pianists in the country, Bob has chalked up an impressive list of performances
with great musicians over the years, including the great Clancy Hayes,
Rick (Cougar) Nelson, Tommy Saunders, and many others. We are proud to welcome him as
an "official" member of the Golden Gate Rhythm Machine for the foreseeable future.
Bob lives and works in Sacramento, CA. Retired from his full-time daytime job is as a health program consultant with the California State Department of Health Services, he plays as much as possible. His old day job did not relate to his interest in music and jazz
whatsoever; but it did "...however, provide me with something to do between gigs....and also allowed me to eat!"