Critically acclaimed pianist Bob Rodriguez is one of the most distinctively imaginative musicians in contemporary Jazz today. Possessing a refined virtuoso technique, extraordinary harmonic sensibility and an incomparable approach to his instrument that melds aspects of European classical and Latin music with modern Jazz, Rodriguez's performances and recordings of his own compositions and interpretations of standard material have distinguished him as a truly original pianist with his own tale to tell.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Rodriguez began studying classical piano as a child. At 15, after hearing Teddy Wilson on the radio, he was inspired to write an original blues, revealing a nascent aptitude for composition and prompting his teacher to send him to his first Jazz instructor, Hank Kahout, an expert on Wilson and Art Tatum, who was a stride piano specialist. Next, he studied privately with Bill Gidney, a bebop pianist who had accompanied Charlie Parker. Rodriguez studied harmony formally at the Modern Music School of Cleveland with Phil Rizzo (a former Stan Kenton arranger) and twelve tone composition at Baldwin Wallace University. Later, he attended Akron University, where he spent time analyzing modern classical techniques under the tutelage of Pat Pace, who had written arrangements for Miles Davis.
Rodriguez was an active player on the Cleveland Jazz circuit throughout most of his twenties, but by the mid eighties he had an opportunity to move to Houston and took it. There he played jazz and latin gigs with his trio, occasionally working with visiting luminaries such as Kenny Wheeler, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Billy Hart, Muhal Richard Abrams, Joe Farrell, Billy Drews and others. He was invited to teach Jazz piano at the prestigious Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and in 1988 he met modern Jazz vocalist Tina Marsh, who asked him to be the pianist and composer-in-residence for her forward looking fourteen piece big band, the Creative Opportunity Orchestra. Rodriguez has been recording with Tina and her ensemble since the late 80's. He's also recorded with Tina and his trio in 1997 on their co-led disc 'Out Of Time'.