Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Bargad, Rob, piano; b. Boston, MA, 7 September 1962. His father is an amateur multi-instrumentalist. He has a sister, Adena, with whom he has coauthored songs. His family moved to Chicago where he attended the New Trier High School in suburban Chicago. There, he began performing in big-band and small group settings, lead rehearsals as Student Director, and traveled with the Jazz Ensemble on a tour of Greece and Romania. He spent a year at Indiana University, informally pursuing studies of Jazz and improvisation, while performing regularly with a student quintet. As the result of a spring break visit to Rutgers University in 1981, he enrolled there the following Fall to study with Kenny Barron. Further studies there included arranging courses with Paul Jeffrey and John Stubblefield (and performing with their big bands), improvisation with Ted Dunbar, and piano with Harry Pickens.
Moving to New York City in 1984 (graduation from Rutgers occurred in 1987), he began freelancing, including steady engagements at One Fifth Avenue and with the jam-session "house band" at the Blue Note. It was at El C's in East Orange, NJ, though, that he was introduced to singer Jimmy Scott by saxophonist Leo Johnson, with whom Rob was working. He worked with Jimmy Scott for one and a half years, then accompanied Dakota Staton. During that time he formed his own group, Quartet Bargad, and began to work more regularly on the New York scene. Paul Jeffrey recommended him in 1987 to Lionel Hampton, with whom he toured throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan. After more than a year with the Hampton band, Rob returned to New York to focus more on composition and arranging, and performing locally.
In early 1990, Vincent Herring recommended Rob to join him in the Nat Adderley Quintet, along with Walter Booker and Jimmy Cobb. He traveled the world with Adderley throughout the 1990s, recorded nine CDs, appeared on international radio and television programs, and participated in numerous clinics for music students. Around 1996 he also toured Europe with the Harper Brothers and with Roy Hargrove. As keyboardist/musical director for Justin Tracy, he went to Europe again in the summer of '97. He co-produced Tracy's debut CD. His arranging and musical direction can be heard on LaVerne Butler's Day Dreamin.
He wrote music for each of the bands he has been in. Also a songwriter, his songs have been performed by vocalists in the U.S., Brasil, Europe and Japan, including Shirley Horn, Joyce and Freddy Cole.
He is currently pianist/vocalist in the Fine Wine Trio, with Gene Perla, bass and Bobby Kapp, drums/vocals. The trio completed a tour of Africa and Jordan representing the U. S. State Department as "Jazz Ambassadors" in June/July of 2001. In 1999, he was introduced to the Hammond B3 organ by his mentor Seleno Clarke, and he now plays organ on several of his gigs around New York, including Fridays and Sundays at American Legion Post 398 in Harlem.
Better Times (1994); The Shadow of Your Smile (1996)
Introducing Dena DeRose
Bargad's songs were used in The Four Corners Of Nowhere. (1996)