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Jazz Bar Rock!

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When I was younger I used to go to concerts. That is an understatement. I went to every concert that a boy living in Little Rock, Arkansas can go to. By the time I was 22 I had seen over 250 live shows. But now I am older. I have a wife and a kid and a mortgage and a career. I only go to concerts when they are extraordinary. Tonight was such a show.

Blue Note recording artist, Bob Dorough is an Arkansas native. I played in a band with his nephew in college or I would not know so much about him. He is a gifted songwriter and jazz piano man. He is perhaps the only vocalist to record with Miles Davis, but you are familiar with many of his tunes for an entirely different reason.

Bob Dorough was also musical director for the School House Rock! cartoon series. He was the performer on many of the songs we all grew up singing on Saturday mornings, and wrote many more. Tonight he started the first set with several Jazz standards, and then played some blues from his recent State Department trip to South America. He closed with Conjunction Junction, Three is a Magic Number, and Figure Eight.

This show was in a tiny bar, and Bob engaged the crowd like no performer I have ever seen. Every song was introduced with a story. Any time that there was an opportunity for a sing along, Bob made sure that everyone knew what part they were supposed to sing and when and how to sing it. He taught us harmony and assigned us parts. Hell, he even taught us a secret harmony to “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” that he said was for, “music majors only,” and included a tri-tone that might conjure up the devil.

Bob is an American Treasure and if you are only familiar with his School House Rock stuff, you need to check out his jazz recordings. He is a gifted songwriter, flashy pianist, and has a unique, twang-cool vocal style.

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  • Ms. J

    3 IS the magic number…Wish I could’ve been at the show!

  • David

    Birth of the Cool had a singer doing Darn that Dream. Sarah Vaughan did some stuff with Miles in the Band. I seem to have read that Miles’s first recording was backing up an R&B singer of some sort. Shirley Horn got Miles to play on the title cut to her You Won’t Forget Me album. Those are just off the top of my head.