Remembering Bob Dorough
December 12, 1923 – April 23, 2018
“A tribute to the unique jazz pianist-singer-songwriter”
Bob Dorough (December 12, 1923 – April 23, 2018) was a unique jazz songwriter-singer-pianist who wrote several standards and always charmed audiences with his kind, friendly and quietly hip personality.
Born in Cherry Hill, Arkansas, Dorough grew up in Texas, took piano lessons at an early age, and played clarinet and wrote arrangements for his high school jazz band.
He took music classes at Texas Tech, played in the Army band while serving in the military during World War II, and after his discharge was introduced to bebop.
After earning a music degree from North Texas State Teachers College in 1949, he worked for two years as boxer Sugar Ray Robinson’s musical director.
Bob Dorough developed into a top-notch bebop pianist inspired by Bud Powell, a personable and witty singer, and an inventive songwriter
Dorough spent part of 1953-54 living and performing music in Paris, he made his recording debut in 1956 (introducing his lyrics to Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite” along with one of his most famous songs, “Devil May Care”), and he became a popular performer in the jazz world..
Dorough, who recorded two titles with Miles Davis in 1962 (“Blue Xmas” and “Nothing Like You”), gained fame in the 1970s as the musical director for Schoolhouse Rock, writing many songs for kids that are well remembered decades later.
Dorough, who recorded a classic duet album with fellow pianist-singer-songwriter Dave Frishberg (Who’s On First), also composed or co-composed such songs as “Small Day Tomorrow,” “Comin’ Home Baby,” ‘Better Than Anything,” “I’ve Got Just About Everything” and “I’m Hip.”
Although he lived to be 94, the always-enthusiastic and youthful Bob Dorough was always thought of as one of the youngest of jazz performers.
Here is Bob Dorough in 1998 playing duets with bassist Doug Smith on “Just About Everything” and one of his most touching songs of his later years, “But For Now”.