Singer/Pianist Bob Dorough Plays SF's Jazz at Pearl’s May 4-6
(Published: May 02, 2007)
Swinging, Whimsey and the beloved songs of “Schoolhouse Rock” on tap in North Beach
"[Bob Dorough] is one of the great joys of modern music. A true force of nature, standard bearer of the concept of 'heart and soul' - hipster saint . . . and all around righteous teacher. He's like some kind of giant smile that rose with the sun seventy-some years ago and stayed up there in the sky, shining down for all to see." -- Mike Zwerin, International Herald-Tribune
Singer, pianist, composer Bob Dorough has been smiling out at his audience since his first LP, Devil May Care (1956), with witty, crowd pleasing songs like "You're the Dangerous Type." Jazz Times reviewer Joel Siegel called Dorough's 2000 CD, Too Much Coffee Man, "54 minutes of pure pleasure."
Dorough will swing this Friday through Sunday night (May 4-6) at Jazz at Pearl’s, at 256 Columbus Avenue in the heart of San Francisco’s historic North Beach District. Shows are at 8:00 and 10:00 pm nightly, with doors open at 7:30.
Of course, many know Dorough best for his role with the beloved children's show "Schoolhouse Rock," for which he wrote and sang enduring favorites like, "Conjunction Junction" and "Three is a Magic Number."
No matter how or why folks love Bob Dorough, his three-night set at Jazz at Pearl's is bound to please everyone, as he romps through his own witty and heartfelt jazz tunes, adds special touches to the Great American Songbook and offers up smiling renditions of those "Schoolhouse Rock" favorites.
Dorough was born in Arkansas (he was inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame in 1996) and grew up in Texas. He played in an Army band during World War II, then went to North Texas State University, where he majored in composition and minored in piano. He moved to New York City around 1950 and was playing piano in a Times Square tap dance studio when he was introduced to the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who had temporarily left boxing and was putting together a song and dance revue. Dorough was hired and later became the show's music director; the revue traveled to various U.S. cities and then to Europe.
Dorough left Robinson in Paris and lived there from 1954 to 1955, recording with Blossom Dearie during that time. He returned to the United States and moved to Los Angeles, where he played various gigs, including a job between sets by comedian Lenny Bruce.
That first album, Devil May Care, originally released in 1956, since rereleased twice and still available, caused quite a stir. The buzz has continued over nearly five decades since then, with Dorough recordings issued on a variety of labels, both large and tiny. Along the way, Bob became the first – and the last – halfway decent singer to appear on a Miles Davis record (Sorcerer). Among Bob's more illustrious songwriting collaborators over the years have been Fran Landesman and Dave Frishberg. His tunes now appear on albums recorded by dozens of other vocalists – and many have found special favor as instrumentals, too.
But a whole generation of Americans know Dorough's warm, distinctive voice best from his dozen years (1973-1985) as the musical director and artistic guru of "Schoolhouse Rock."
Jazz at Pearl’s is an “all ages” venue. For more information about the club, please visit www.jazzatpearls.com.
Submitted By: Jerry Karp