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Robert Rawlins

Robert Rawlins is Professor of Music Theory at Rowan University, where he has taught for 20 years. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Rutgers University. Rawlins is the author of six books, including Jazzology and The Real Dixieland Book, and has published more than 100 articles in dozens of journals, including Downbeat, Jazz Educator's Journal, American Music, Popular Music and Society, and The Journal of Popular Culture. In addition, he has written liner and program notes for dozens of CDs and concerts. Robert plays the clarinet, saxophone, and flute and has been a professional musician his entire life. He has worked with hundreds of entertainers, including Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Dean Martin, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Jay Leno, Regis Philbin, Rosemary Clooney, The Temptations, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and Michael Feinstein. In his early days, Robert played with some of the last surviving big band leaders, including Bob Crosby, Sammy Kaye, Warren Covington, Les & Larry Elgart, Ray McKinley, Si Zentner, and Billy Eckstine. He was once a regular member of the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of trumpeter Lee Castle, and played for the very last performance of the original Mills Brothers. Robert is also a former member of the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra. In recent years he has focused his activities on traditional jazz venues, performing frequent engagements with the Tri-State Jazz Society, The Cape May Traditional Jazz Society, The South Jersey Jazz Society, and The Potomac River Jazz Club. He has also performed in the Olde Kings Jazz Festival, the Berks Jazz Festival, The Hot Steamed Jazz Festival, and the Exit 0 Jazz Festival. His love affair with jazz began in high school, when he and a group of friends formed a band called The New Chicago Rhythm Kings, modeling themselves after the famous Austin High Gang of the 1920s. They learned the style by listening to early jazz records, just as the Austin High students did may decades before. Since then Robert has played and listened to all kinds of jazz, but the 1920s have always held a particular fascination for him. A South Jersey native, Robert lives in Clayton, NJ, with his wife and daughter. He recently spent a sabbatical year in New Orleans, living in the French Quarter and performing in various jazz venues.


About my book Tunes of the Twenties:

"Tunes of the Twenties! This great new book by Robert Rawlins is essential reading for every song lover!"

—Chris Calloway Brooks, owner/director, Cab Calloway Orchestra "An outstanding work. I wish I had had it to consult when I was writing my jazz standards book."

—Ted Gioa, American jazz critic and music historian "Tunes of the Twenties is one heckuva book! For over a half-century I’ve enjoyed bringing these tunes to life as a musician, but now, with this book, I’m enjoying the stories behind them. I can think of no other book that, so perfectly, captures the humor, sensitivity, depth and understanding of this musically rich decade in America. It’s no wonder that these songs have endured over the years. Tunes of the Twenties is a “must read” for anyone who enjoys the “Great American Songbook.”

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