Pianist Bob Baldwin is an adept performer known for his many contemporary jazz albums. Emerging in the 1990s, he drew fans in with smooth releases like 1994’s For You, 2002’s Standing Tall, and 2013’s Twenty, the latter of which hit number three on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. While original jazz is his main focus, Baldwin’s albums, like 2010’s Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson and MelloWonder: Songs in the Key of Stevie showcase his love of pop and R&B.
Born in 1960 in Mount Vernon, New York, Baldwin was first introduced to the piano around age four by his father, bassist and pianist Robert Baldwin, Sr. By his teens, Baldwin was listening heavily to jazz and R&B. After high school he attended Geneva College, where he earned a business degree, and later even worked as an accountant. However, all the while, he continued developing his music skills and by the ’80s had transferred to a full-time performing and recording career.
As a solo artist, he debuted in 1990 with A Long Way to Go, an album that also garnered him the Sony Innovator in Music Award. Buoyed by this early accolade, Baldwin embarked on a successful run of albums including 1992’s Reflections of Love and 1997’s Cool Breeze. An in-demand sideman, he also found work with a bevy of name artists including Marion Meadows, Regina Carter, Will Downing, Pieces of a Dream, and many more.
During the early 2000s, Baldwin stayed active, releasing a steady stream of albums, many of which reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s Jazz charts, including 2000’s BobBaldwin.com, 2002’s Standing Tall, 2005’s All in a Day’s Work, 2008’s NewUrbanJazz.com, and 2009’s Lookin’ Back.
In 2010, he put his smooth jazz twist on the King of Pop’s sound with Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute to Michael Jackson. NewUrbanJazz.com2: Re-Vibe appeared a year later. Baldwin then delivered another soul-themed homage with Betcha by Golly Wow: The Songs of Thom Bell in 2012.
In 2013, he celebrated his 20th anniversary as a recording artist with Twenty. The Stevie Wonder tribute album, MelloWonder: Songs in the Key of Stevie, appeared in 2015. In 2016, Baldwin explored his love of bossa nova and the compositions of Brazilian artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, and Sergio Mendes with The Brazilian-American Soundtrack. He then applied his urbane skills to the music of Paul McCartney and John Lennon on 2018’s Bob Baldwin Presents Abbey Road and the Beatles.