“My earliest memory of longing to be a musician was when my parents, like so many in their generation, and the generations before, saw the value of purchasing a piano for the home. The reason why I remember it so vividly is that while I was only 3* years old, my brother was 8. He was the lucky first in the family to receive piano lessons. W-H-A-T!!?? Why he and not me? I was so mad. It wasn’t fair!
I was told I had to wait until I was at least 6 years old. I’m quite sure my parents knew about Suzuki and all, but I didn’t…so I had no arguments back then. In retrospect, I can only speculate now that this was more a budgetary consideration rather than the supposed learning ability of a three-something year old. Well, in the short term, I had better things to do anyway
…and then finally! I turned 6. So I promptly announced the ‘grand bargain’ from 3 years earlier.”
…Rob began studies at the piano with Arthur Cunningham, in Nyack NY. In grade school, he was inspired to take up the trumpet when band instruments were offered and hasn’t stopped since. His early jazz influences growing up were listening to his dad’s old “78’s” of Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and later, listening to Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard.
During his early twenties, Rob studied jazz at City College (NY), where there was an extensive jazz program. He had the opportunity to take improvisation classes with pianist John Lewis (of MJQ) and trombonist Bob Norden, as well as jazz bands with both Bob and saxophonist Ed Summerlin. He also studied trumpet privately with the legendary Carmine Caruso.
After gaining his BA in music, Rob started playing out in the local jazz community in Northern New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester Counties.
In his thirties, Rob settled in upstate NY in an area centrally located between the Berkshires, the Catskills and the Capital District (Albany). In the late 80s, Rob hosted a jazz radio show at a local station, featuring both recorded music (from his own collection…the radio station had none at all) and live artists from the area.
Ten years later, (1996-1999) he started a short-lived, but well received online website called the Jazz Friends Review, which featured CD reviews and articles written by himself and other jazz enthusiasts around the United States.
More recently, Rob started to work on playing the double bass. He also started a brass instrument repair business out of his home under the name of Taconic Brass. He continues to live and perform on trumpet and bass in upstate NY and western Massachusetts.
* My sister corrected me recently that I was 5, not 3, but I like the story ‘as-is’.