An emerging young artist has captured Atlanta's competitive spirit on CD. He's Keyboardist/ Producer/Arranger Bob Baldwin.
His latest release, City Sketches is a musical portrait of the city of Atlanta, Ga.. and is on his label, City Sketches, Inc. A commemorative celebration of Atlanta's unique history, some of the titles on this jazz composition include: "Welcome to the Games", "Freedom Parkway", "Dreamin' the Dream" and "Downtown Underground". Violinist Regina Carter liked Downtown Underground so much that she used it on her latest LP, "Something for Grace". Baldwin's highlight for the 1997 season was performing at the legendary Montreux Music festival in Atlanta (9/97) where he shared the stage with an Atlanta based ensemble (Blake Gaines on bass and Forrest Robinson on drums) as well as his friend and AWB member saxophonist Fred Vigdor. Baldwin also performed for the athletes at Atlanta's 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and recently shared the stage with Roy Ayers and Chuck Loeb in front of hundreds at the Club Benson and Hedges Music Festival in 11/96 and 5/97.
City Sketches is Baldwin's first release in four years. The self-produced CD features Marion Meadows, Sharon Bryant (formerly of Atlantic Starr), and Rohn Lawrence as well as other rising talent in Atlanta. Roberta Flack selected Baldwin as 1989 Sony Innovators Award winner for his first album, The Dream Featuring Bob Baldwin on Malaco Jazz Records (1988). Baldwin's second and third albums Rejoice 1990 and Reflections of Love 1992 were released on Atlantic-Jazz labels and experienced measurable success as Reflections of Love peaked at number seven on the Contemporary Jazz Chart in July 1992 As a result of his success in 1992, he performed nationwide, including The World Trade Center in New York City, The Comcast Cable Show in Detroit, Michigan and in Europe with vocalist Will Downing.
To his credit, Baldwin also contributed to the success of other established artists as he composed and produced material for saxmen Grover Washington, Jr. ("Next Exit") and Marion Meadows ("Keep It Right There). On one hot July afternoon, Bob was perusing the Billboard charts only to find his cd at #7 while Washington and Meadows were at #2 and #5, respectively. All three cds sold in excess of 400,000 copies combined. Baldwin worked on Meadows' latest release, Body Rhythm BMG (1995) which to date has exceeded almost 100,000 units sold. He then supported the Body Rhythm album with Meadows on the road and has performed many sold-out Large City venues throughout the East and Midwest. The 1995 highlight was the performance at the Asbury Park Jazz Festival in New Jersey before an audience of 20,000 as well as sharing performance dates with vocalist Phil Perry and Chieli Minucci (Special EFX).
In addition, Baldwin has a love for humanity as he has given numerous benefit performances for African-American and Latino non-profit foundations in the New York City metropolitan area over the past ten years in the New York City Metropolitan area. Baldwin performed at the 1995 Special Olympics in New Haven, Ct.
This Keyboardist exhibits his writing skills from time to time. As a contributing staff writer for Strictly Jazz Magazine published in Atlanta, Ga., he has written stories on Herbie Hancock, Patrice Rushen, Yellowjackets, Rio Kawasaki, Will Downing, Ray Vega, Lennie White, Keiko Matsui, Ray Obiedo, Marion Meadows, Joe Sample and George Duke. Baldwin also exercises his entrepreneurial prowess as he owns publishing company Are-Gee-Bee, Inc. Some of the company's writing, production and performing credits include George Benson, Grover Washington, Jr., Will Downing, Marion Meadows, Deniece Williams, Tom Browne, Norman Conners and Pieces of a Dream. He also owns a production company Chameleon Productions, which showcases his production portfolio as well as City Sketches. Inc., which he uses to house his own body of work.
Baldwin was born in Mount Vernon, NY and reared in Westchester County, NY. Baldwin's father, Robert Baldwin, Sr. who is also an accomplished jazz pianist discovered his perfect pitch and taught him how to play the piano at age four. He had private lessons in Classical and Jazz Standards. Baldwin's musical influences range from Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis to Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. Baldwin earned a degree in Business Administration from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA while working at MCI and Sprint Communications. He later met Hancock at his Sony Innovators performance in Beverly Hills in 1989 whom inspired him during his formative years.
In 1986 he formed the The Bob Baldwin/Al Orlo Project. The The Baldwin/Orlo Project performed at the legendary Bottom Line in New York City leading to his first production with trumpeter Tom Browne. This opportunity led to his first album and eventually to his two-album deal with Atlantic Jazz Records. The Project also proved to be a stepping stone for other band members. Many went on to work as instrumentalist men for some of the most popular jazz and pop bands in the world including: Spyrogyra, Michel Camilo, Paul Simon, The Average White Band, The Temptations and Chick Corea.
Baldwin draws his musical strengths from his spritual source. "God has been good to me and blessed me with a wonderful talent. I look to him daily for direction and strength and give him thanks daily". His Gospel influences are Tramaine Hawkins, Helen Baylor, Yolanda Adams and Vickie Winans. "When you sing from God's soul, you ultimately save souls". Hence, the feeling you get from Baldwin's passionate playing comes from his spiritual source."
The debut release on the City Sketches, Inc. label is no doubt the result of Baldwin's years of experience in the industry and obvious business savvy. Most of all, City Sketches , Inc.speaks to the musical talent of Bob Baldwin, the artist and his passion to encourage creativity in every artistic person.
Have a look at his album BobBalwin.com (2001) at http://bobbaldwin.com/!
His label do you find at http://www.citysketches.com/ .