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Bobby Militello

About this Artist

Bobby Militello has played with many artists for the last five decades, along with leading his own groups. He is Adjunct Instructor at the University at Buffalo since 2016 and member of the University at Buffalo Faculty Quartet with John Bacon, Jr., George Caldwell, and Sabu Adeyola since 2017.

From 2014 to 2018, he led the Bobby Militello Quartet, featuring Bobby Jones on keyboards, Jim Colemon on bass, and John Bacon, Jr. on drums. This band performed at the 2014 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, along with many other concerts and local venues. Bobby is a member of the jazz sextet Star People, co-led by pianist George Caldwell and drummer John Bacon, Jr., featuring the music of Miles Davis. He is also a member of the Mark Filsinger eleventet and sextet.

From 1982 to 2012, Bobby played alto and flute with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and recorded over 20 CDs; played with almost every major orchestra in the U.S., Canada, and Europe; appeared in many international jazz festivals, and in television and radio shows. A childhood dream come true, his tenure with Dave Brubeck has proven to be one of the highlights of his life and career.

From 1975 to 1979, Bobby played with Maynard Ferguson, also a childhood dream, on baritone sax and flute. During his tenure with Maynard, he appeared in the Downbeat magazine readers polls from 1976 to 1979 on bari and flute and received critical acclaim in numerous articles and reviews throughout the United States and Canada. He also became Maynard’s road manager for three years.

1982 and 1983 were especially great years for Militello. In 1982, Rick James, who lived in Buffalo, heard Bobby’s fusion group, RPM. After coming to many gigs, Rick set Bobby up with a contract at Motown Records to record his first solo album, Bobby M Blow, which was a funk/R&B project executive-produced by Rick James and co-produced by Bobby and the great jazz drummer and producer Lenny White. While in the process of putting the project together and beginning to record, Bobby got a call from Dave Brubeck. Dave had heard Bobby in 1977 with Maynard Ferguson, in Sugarbush, Vermont. He was looking for a new horn player and wanted Bobby to come to New York and audition for the band. Bobby did and was with Dave from 1982 to 2012.

While living in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1991, Bobby worked with many of the local resident world-renowned composers and arrangers, performing with the Don Menza Quintet, the Dee Barton Big Band, Chuck Flores Big Band and Quartet, Steve Hoffstetter Latin Big Band, the Jeff Stradling Fusion Quintet, the Kim Richmond Jazz Orchestra and Big Band, the Steve Segal Big Band, and at various television sessions at Lorimar Studios. Bobby played alto, flute, and clarinet with the Bill Holman Big Band and recorded with him as well. He also played tenor, clarinet, and flute with the Bob Florence Big Band, with whom he also recorded. Through a colaboration with pianist, arranger, and composer Corey Allen, Bobby met Emiel van Egdom, a composer, arranger, and guitarist from Maastricht, Netherlands. Emiel recorded his first of many recordings in Los Angeles, and Bobby played alto, tenor, and flute on six of Emiel’s recordings, alongside some of the greatest studio players in Los Angeles. Bobby and Emiel have remained good friends for almost 25 years now and still tour and record together. Again, through his association with Corey Allen, Bobby began playing with Cheryl Benteen, vocalist from the world-acclaimed vocal group, Manhattan Transfer, playing tenor and clarinet, and recorded on her first solo album. 

In 1991, Bobby moved back to Buffalo, New York, and was a contract player for the Buffalo Philharmonic where he began playing for Doc Severinson. This led to him joining Doc in various orchestra concerts around the country, and then to a chair in The Tonight Show Band, playing tenor, clarinet, and flute, and touring with the band for the next two years.

While still playing with Brubeck and Doc, Bobby began recording his first solo CDs since his Motown debut. Over the next three years, he recorded a CD each year: Heart and Soul, Easy to Love, and Straight Ahead. At the same time, he was playing with a few big bands in Buffalo and began a collaboration with trumpeter, arranger, and composer Jeff Jarvis , performing on three of Jeff’s CDs and in various concerts throughout the U.S.

Throughout his career, spanning some 50 years, he has formed various groups of his own, ranging from fusion/funk to bebop. His first national recording, Primal Scream, was with Maynard Ferguson in 1975 and his first solo album, entitled Bobby M Blow, was recorded in 1982 for Motown Records. Enjoying a large range of musical styles, Bobby has merged his love for many types of music into his present style of bop. Combined with his obvious ability to express emotion in his playing, this makes for a unique sound and approach to playing the alto sax, tenor sax, flute, and soprano. He is one of those artists who prefer to record live, when possible, in order to truly exhibit the qualities that make jazz so interesting. Bobby can be heard on over 250 recordings and various television and film scores.