Born and raised in the Newark, NJ area, Bob started playing piano and organ at the age of 8. Early on, family and friends noticed that he was gifted and encouraged him to pursue his music. Throughout middle school and high school, Bob played in numerous bands covering a variety of musical styles, but his interest was truly in jazz. His early influences included Count Basie Band and Oscar Peterson.
Pursuing music as his career, Bob then went on to major in music at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. Bob's music teacher, Richard Osborne, introduced him to the Indianapolis music scene. He was a steady at the The Embers and performed with comedians and singers, such as Frankie Lane, Eloise Laws, and Slappy White. On the jazz front, he performed with Pookie Johnson, Russell Webster and Royce Campbell. He was even fortunate at a young age to sit in with Wes Montgomery, during this time.