February 22, 2014
WILBERFORCE — The community is invited to join a Master Class with Grammy-nominated Jazz Artist Bob Baldwin 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Paul Cultural & Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall sponsored by Public Media WCSU-FM 88.9 in collaboration with Central State University Performing Arts.
Baldwin is a five-time Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) Jazz Winner and five time Grammy-nominated Jazz Artist who hails from Mount Vernon, NY. He is an unsung hero when it comes to the Contemporary/Smooth Jazz genre.
“Being independent means better equity opportunities long-term, something I can pass on to my family when it is all said and done”, says Baldwin. “It’s not a new concept, but this is something I wish more artists took ownership of as I think its key developing a CAREER in the business.”
His recordings have included such greats as Grover Washington, Jr. Phil Perry, Will Downing, Chuck Loeb, Marion Meadows and Noel Pointer, to name a select few. His distributors are well respected in the business including Atlantic Records, WEA, Ryker, Sony Red and EMI, so he suggests that you don’t take the ‘independent’ tag too lightly.
In between time, with a vision to take his gift of music to bless those less fortunate, and raise funds for organizations in need of help, he has produced such events as 2010’s “Jazz for Haiti”, and “Music For Dave” (For flautist Dave Valentin) in 2013. Baldwin continues to blaze trails on the musical humanitarian front with his return to the Arts Westchester for a fifth season as Curator of the NewUrbanJazz Series.
His latest release, simply titled, “Twenty” marks his 20th release as a solo artist, which began in 1988 with the clever title, “I’ve Got a Long Way to Go” on Malaco Jazz. Before he retires, he’d like to record as many as 40 discs. The album (released 08/20/13) features classics by Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard and has debuted at #13 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz and has supplanted itself in the top 5 at Amazon Smooth Jazz since its release.
Baldwin was the Curator of the NewUrbanJazz @ the Arts Exchange in White Plains, NY, with the blessings of ArtsWestchester, with the hopes that it will continue. “We had an incredible lineup of people, and the response from the community has been wonderful. It was a nice shot in the arm for Westchester residents.”
Although he has been running his production company since 1997, Baldwin has released 5 records on 5 different labels since 2000. With labels collapsing and going out of business more now than ever, his last 5 discs have managed to make the Billboard top 10 Contemporary Jazz.
The pianist tries to never allow his business acumen go to waste. He independently produced his CD (distributed through the powerful Virgin/EMI Network) Bobbaldwin.com, which sold an impressive 60,000 units. He also used his business skills to develop and negotiate his recording deals with upstart labels 215 Records, NuGroove Records as well as Narada Jazz, all of which have since gone under.
His radio program NewUrbanJazz Lounge with Bob Baldwin is changing the sound of Contemporary Jazz in the midst of the debilitating hierarchy that is Smooth Jazz, which has lost over 18 stations in the last 20 months. The radio show covers Contemporary Jazz going back to the 70’s, which helps secure its legacy, but also brings to light new artists and fuses Urban and Brazilian flavors. It’s the perfect fix for Contemporary Jazz fans from all walks of life, and later this year, look for an all-out Internet blitz for the new programming.