Amazing Marion-Born Musician Heading to the Grammys
This weekend, Bobby Floyd is on his way to Los Angeles to do something he has never done before, attend the Grammys. The record, “All About the Basie,” has been nominated and Bobby played on just about every track on an album. It is nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble and was released in 2018. Bobby has played with the Count Basie Orchestra for six years and is excited to be walking the red carpet on Sunday, February 10, 2019.
Born in Marion, Bobby’s mother first discovered his amazing talent of playing the piano at the age of 2, where he walked over to the old upright in their Marion home and began picking out melodies. Not much later, his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and at five, he was taking piano lessons.
“My mom played piano at our church, and when I was 6, I took over,” says Floyd. “I played what we called congregational songs. People would get up and before they gave their testimony, they would sing an old song like ‘I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me’ or ‘Victory, Victory Shall Be Mine.’ I played strictly by ear and I remember thinking, ‘This is pretty easy.'”
His father helped Bobby to love jazz. When he discovered Bobby’s expertise, he started bringing home records by pianists like Ahmad Jamal, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner. “Erroll Garner was my absolute favorite so I would sit at the piano and try to mimic everything he played,” Floyd says.
At 12 years old, a dream came true: The Marion Concert Association brought his piano hero to his hometown. “We got seats right close to the front, and that was one of my biggest inspirations, seeing Erroll Garner live,” Floyd says. “After the concert they took me backstage and introduced me to him. I sat down and played the piano for him and he loved the way I played. I’ll never forget that.”
By the time Floyd reached high school, he had taken classical lessons so he could play just about anything. He became the unofficial school pianist, doing everything from backing choirs to soloing with the jazz band.
When it came time for college, he headed to nearby Ohio State University in Columbus. There were jazz bands but no jazz major, so Floyd studied music education. However, the stage was calling so he left college and hit the road with touring bands. And that was the start to an amazing career!
Bobby has toured and performed extensively with Ray Charles, Rusty Bryant, Jeff Tyzik, Chris Howes, Byron Stripling, Sarah Morrow and his own trio. His current touring schedule includes performances as featured soloist with orchestras throughout the USA and Canada. Floyd is also a frequent soloist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra where his soulful sound has backed artist such as Chuck Mangione, Houston Person, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Mavis Staples, Gerald Wilson, Wycliffe Gordon, John Clayton and countless others.
“I am currently the feature pianist for multiple Grammy award-winning Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, and I also play in small group/combo settings ranging from my own trio (The Bobby Floyd Trio) to such luminaries as Dr John, Lewis Nash, Byron Stripling and Doc Sevrinson.” “I toured the world accompanying Ray Charles in the ’80s”.
Marion wishes Bobby Floyd the best! Just another amazing highlight in a great career for a wonderful man!