By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Blue Note Records recording artist Bob Dorough will perform with his trio Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 8:30 p.m in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University.
The performance, which is free and open to the public, is part of the ongoing Jazz at Bucknell First Wednesdays series. Dorough, piano and vocals, will be joined by Pat O'Leary, bass, and Steve Berger, guitar.
Dorough's ensemble performance will follow the Negro Leagues Baseball event, "If it Ain't Got that Swing: Black Baseball and Black Music in the Era of the Color Line," with Robert Cvornyek, Rhode Island College, and Lawrence Hogan, Union County College. Their talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in Bucknell Hall.
Born in Arkansas and raised in Texas, Dorough served three years in a Special Services Army Band Unit and earned a degree at the University of North Texas before taking classes at Columbia University and immersing himself in the BeBop revolution led by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk in the 1940s.
By 1952 he began to devote himself to jazz performance, specializing in piano/vocals. He made his first recording as a leader in 1956 for the Bethlehem label with "Devil May Care," having written the title tune three years earlier.
Dorough recorded twice with Miles Davis, "Nothing Like You" and "Blue Xmas," both of which he composed. Davis also recorded an instrumental version of Dorough's classic song, "Devil May Care," that same year.
In 1971 Dorough received a commission to literally set the multiplication tables to music as part of ABC-TV's "Schoolhouse Rock," which aired from 1973-85. The show came back for another five years in the '90s and is enjoying its 30th anniversary with a DVD edition of the entire, five-subject series, for which Dorough worked as the musical director.
1995 was a landmark year as Dorough was signed to Blue Note Records resulting in three classic CDs for them. Currently recording on Arbors, Candid and his own label, Dorough continues to perform internationally, often for children too, in jazz clubs, schools, outdoors, actually anywhere.
He has received the Pennsylvania Governor's Artist of the Year Award and been named to the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2002 his trio was chosen to represent the State Department and Kennedy Center, as an Ambassador of Jazz and Blues. The one-month tour saw them play some 22 workshops and concerts in 13 cities in six different countries.
Gary Giddens of The Village Voice said, "I was having a high old time listening to Bob Dorough when my assistant Elora walked in and exclaimed with a slight interrogatory, 'Schoolhouse Rock!?' She had never heard of Dorough, but she recognized the voice.
"You will not find anyone of my generation who does not know the words to 'Electricity Electricity' and 'Conjunction Junction.'
"She proved the point with a recitation augmented by a description of the animation that accompanied the songs when the short instructive cartoons appeared on television."
For more information or to hear music samples, visit http://www.bobdorough.com/
Jazz at Bucknell presents international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.
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