|Birth name||Robert Chase Florence|
|Born||May 20, 1932|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||May 15, 2008 (aged 75)|
|Genres||Jazz, big band, pop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, arranger, band leader|
|Labels||Liberty, Trend, MAMA|
A child prodigy, Florence began piano lessons before he was five years old and at seven gave his first recital. Although his early education was in classical music, he was drawn to jazz and big band. He went to Los Angeles City College and studied arranging and orchestration with Bob McDonald. He joined the college big band, and his classmates included Herb Geller and Tommy Tedesco.
Florence spent most of his career with big bands, as a leader, performer, composer, and arranger. After graduating from college, he was a member of bands led by Les Brown, Louis Bellson, and Harry James. His arrangement of "(Up A) Lazy River" for Si Zentner was a hit in 1960 and won a Grammy Award. Dave Pell hired him to work full-time as an arranger for Liberty Records. The job gave him the opportunity to write in several genres: bossa nova with Sergio Mendez, jazz with Bud Shank, and pop vocal with Vic Dana.
He worked often in Hollywood as a bandleader, composer, and arranger for TV variety shows, hosted by Dean Martin, Red Skelton, and Andy Williams, and he wrote arrangements for the Tonight Show band led by Doc Severinsen. He won an Emmy Award for a program by Linda Lavin (1981) and another for a concert by Julie Andrews (1990).
In 1979 he returned to a recording career that had been sidetracked by other work. Twelve years separated Pet Project (World Pacific, 1967) from Live at Concerts By The Sea (Trend, 1979). His album Magic Time (1984) was the first to be credited to his eighteen-piece big band, the Bob Florence Limited Edition. The band released albums throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2000, Serendipity 18 won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance by a Large Ensemble. He received fifteen Grammy nominations during his career.
Florence died of pneumonia at the age of 75 on May 15, 2008, in Los Angeles.
|1958||Meet the Bob Florence Trio||Era Records EL-20003; CD reissue: Fresh Sound FSRCD-303|
|1959||Name Band: 1959||Carlton LP12/115; reissue: Carlton LP12/139 (1962); CD reissue: Fresh Sound FSCD-2008||With big band|
|1960||Bongos/Reeds/Brass||HiFi Records L-1001; CD reissue: Essential Media Group||With big band|
|1964||Here and Now! (Bold, Swinging Big Band Ideas)||Liberty LRP-3380/LST-7380||With big band|
|1967||Pet Project: The Bob Florence Big Band Plays Pet Clark Hits||World Pacific WP-1860/WPS-21860||With big band|
|1979||Live at Concerts By The Sea||Trend 523||With big band|
|1981||Westlake||Discovery 832||With big band|
|1982||Soaring||Bosco 3; CD reissue: Sea Breeze SB-2082||With big band|
|1984||Magic Time||Trend 536||With big band|
|1986||The Norwegian Radio Big Band Meets Bob Florence||Odin 18|
|1987||Trash Can City||Trend 545||With big band|
|1988||State of the Art||USA Music Group 589||With big band|
|1990||Treasure Chest||USA Music Group 680||With big band|
|1993||Funupsmanship [live]||MAMA 1006||With big band|
|1995||With All the Bells and Whistles||MAMA 1011||With big band|
|1997||Earth||MAMA 1016||With big band|
|1999||Serendipity 18||MAMA 1025||With big band|
|2001||Another Side||MAMA 1029||Solo piano|
|2003||Whatever Bubbles Up||Summit 360||With big band|
|2005||Friends, Treasures, Heroes||Summit 430||Solo piano|
|2006||Eternal Licks & Grooves||MAMA 1030||With big band|
|2007||You Will Be My Music||MAMA 1031||Florence (piano) with Annette Sanders (vocals)|
|2009||Legendary||MAMA 1037||With big band|
With Count Basie
- Basie on the Beatles (Happy Tiger, 1969)
With Louie Bellson
With Harry James
- Harry James...Today! (MGM E/SE-3848, 1960)
- The Solid Gold Trumpet of Harry James (MGM E/SE-4058, 1962)
With Joe Pass
- A Sign of the Times (World Pacific, 1965)
With Bud Shank
- California Dreamin' (World Pacific, 1966)
- Michelle (World Pacific, 1966)
- Bud Shank & the Sax Section (Pacific Jazz, 1966)
- Bud Shank Plays Music from Today's Movies (World Pacific, 1967)
With Julie Andrews
- Love Julie (USA Music Group, 1987)
With Sue Raney
- Sings the Music of Johnny Mandel (Discovery, 1982)
- Ridin' High (Discovery, 1984)
- Flight of Fancy: A Journey of Alan & Marilyn Bergman (Discovery, 1986)
With Brian Swartz Quartet
- Live at the Jazz Bakery (Summit, 2005)
With Bud Shank
- Girl in Love (World Pacific, 1966)
- Taking the Long Way Home (Jazzed Media, 2006)
With Joanie Sommers
- Dream (Discovery, 1980 [rel. 1983])
- Here, There and Everywhere! (Absord [Japan], 2000 [rel. 2004])
- Voce, Steve (25 August 2008). "Bob Florence: Jazz composer and band leader". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Bob Florence". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- Schudel, Matt (25 May 2008). "Bob Florence; Eclectic Bandleader, Arranger Revered by Jazz Fans". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- "Harry James...Today!". Allmusic. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
- Lord, Tom (2013). The Jazz Discography (CD) (14.0 ed.).