Albanese, a perpetual student, was granted a scholarship in 2002 to complete a B.M. and M.M. at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in Jazz Composition. He met the challenge head on and while under the M.S.M. umbrella composed a number of new works including a Jazz Philharmonic piece entitled “Samba Esperança” that was performed by the Cincinnati Conservatory Philharmonic in April of 2006. He completed his formal degrees, BM and MM in May 2006 graduating with honors, receiving the William C. Borden award [for outstanding achievement in the field of Jazz].
Equally at home in jazz, Latin, pop, and theatrical musical settings, Jazz Pianist Bob Albanese has worked with a wide stylistic cross section of artists, many of considerable fame. Some of the notables he has performed, arranged and/or recorded with include Anita O’Day, Buddy Rich, Warne Marsh, Rita Moreno, Herb Ohta, Datevik Hovanesian, Leslie Uggums, Daphne Rubin Vega, Bill Watrous and a host of other Jazz artists ranging from Cab Calloway to Freddie Hubbard to Branford Marsalis.
He has been based in New York since 1980, but has also spent a fair amount of time on the road performing all over the continental U.S. and Hawaii (where he stayed for 2 years in the mid 90’s), Europe, Japan, Russia, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
While in Hawaii he acted as pianist for the Honolulu Symphony Pops and did numerous recordings and live performances with local and national artists including Phil Woods and James Ingram.
His longest stint of steady employment in N.Y.C. came in 1989 when he was hired as house pianist at the legendary Rainbow Room, playing there for a number of years as alternating Latin and American Jazz pianist. He also performed there as a solo pianist for some time upon returning to NYC from Hawaii.
As a studio musician, he has played and /or composed and arranged for over fifty commercial recordings throughout his years in New York (four under his own name); as well as music for film and T.V. His clients have included Sesame Street and Oprah Winfrey. In 2001, he was selected to serve his country as a Jazz Ambassador and led his band, Café Simpatico in performance, workshops and cultural exchange throughout war torn former Yugoslavia.
He is presently accompanist for Ben Vereen and performs with him regularly as group pianist and as solo accompanist for Mr. Vereen’s keynote speaking/performing engagements.
At the moment he is planning a tour with his trio to promote his upcoming new CD “One Way / Detour”.
William C. Borden award [for outstanding achievement in the field of Jazz]
”Bob Albanese is a rhymer, a poetic soul whether he is thinking and talking or composing and playing. He has all the requisites-harmonic acumen, melodicism and swing. With all that he has nuance, that certain something that gives him distinction. He’s not radical, or fanatical but artistically he’s never on sabbatical.” --Ira Gitler (Jan. 2009), jazz historian and journalist, former New York editor of Down Beat magazine. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jazz Journalists Association.
“Bob is a wonderfully creative pianist and his CD -One Way/Detour- proves it. He not only has a firm grasp on standards, his compositions are most interesting and he is someone who is not a traditionalist but knows the tradition which is a compliment I do not use very often. Bob was a Composition student of mine at Manhattan School of Music and is also a very creative orchestrator and arranger. More people should know about Bob Albanese.” --Michael Abene, Grammy winning Composer, Arranger, Producer and currently the Musical Director (Chefdirigent) of the WDR Big Band of Cologne, Germany on the 15th Nov. 2008
Willing to teach
Beginner to advanced
1) Where do you/ did you teach?
New York University, Mannes College The New School, Manhattan School of Music (ensembles), Five Towns College, Master classes throughout former Yugoslavia i.e. the Balkans: Albania, The Republic of Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bulgaria. I also teach privately and I do video conference lessons through Skype.
2) What do you/ did you teach?
Jazz improvisation, composition, harmonic, melodic and rhythmic development, clavé, 'the language of music' especially as it evolves through, of and into the essential Jazz Canon, the blues. the latin tinge. modes, compositional devices, constant note value improvisation, interpreting standards, jazz tunes: a vehicle for improvisation vs. set composition, ear training, arranging, musical story telling.
3) What do you like to teach during the masterclass?
I do a variety of things. A good set up would be to have at least 2 pianos and a chalk board, preferably with musical staffs but adequate if not. Drums, amps and music stands would be helpful for instrumentalists other than pianists. All instruments welcome. Knowledge of treble and bass clef, note values, chords, chord symbols, are recommended.
4) Some of the activities would be (not necessarily in this order):
a) discussion of everyones needs as pertains to improvisation, especially relating to the jazz tradition, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE JAZZ TRADITION.
b) trading solo choruses back and forth.
c) chalk board explanations of the devices to be used in the actual playing demonstrations and group exercises.
d) the conflux of opposites as it relates to intervals relationships, consonance and dissonance in chord building and melodic (linear) development.