Bobby Lyle is a jazz, soul jazz, and smooth jazz pianist.
He was born in Memphis, Tennessee but grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a home near the corner of Park Avenue and 32nd Street.
Bobby had his first gig at 16 and played in the 1960s with Gene and Jerry Hubbard in the Bobby Lyle Trio. They were very popular at the Blue Note on Plymouth Avenue on Minneapolis’ North Side, and at the Ebony Lounge on University Avenue in St. Paul. When Ramsey Lewis left the Trio which he started and made famous, Lyle became the keyboard player for Young Holt Unlimited.
In 1970, he had a meeting and subsequent jam session with Jimi Hendrix who was planning on starting a jazz-rock group with Lyle and fellow Minnesotans Willie Weeks and Bill Lordan as the rhythm section before his death later that year.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1974 and soon went on the road with Sly and the Family Stone. During this time he also had a stint with the Ronnie Laws band. This led to a meeting with Wayne Henderson of the Jazz Crusaders who then took him to Capitol Records for his first solo recording deal in 1977. After three albums (“The Genie”, “New Warrior”, and “Night Fire”), Capitol abandoned their jazz division. Without a record deal, Lyle returned to his sideman work in 1981 with George Benson. In that same year he was a guest artist on the Yellowjackets debut LP.
Extensive tours with Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, and Anita Baker (all as musical director) occupied most of his time in the eighties. While performing with saxophonist Gerald Albright in 1987, Bobby came to the attention of Sylvia Rhone, then VP of Jazz and Urban music at Atlantic Records. This resulted in a recording deal in 1988 which spawned six albums in nine years. In the meantime, Lyle continued to tour with his own bands as well as with Bette Midler. He received an Emmy nomination for his musical direction on her HBO Special, “Diva Las Vegas” in 1997. He currently lives in Houston, Texas.
As you can read above, Bobby and Jimi Hendrix started a band that never got public (due to the death of Jimi Hendrix the same year). I wonder how that music would sound?
Unfortunately It´s hard to find videos with live performances with Bobby Lyle there he performs his music from the 70´s.
I have put together both sound clips and videos there you can have a better feeling about the musician Bobby Lyle.
Sound clips with Bobby Lyle.
Bobby Lyle – “The Genie” from the album “The Genie” (Capitol, 1977)
Bobby Lyle – “Magic Ride” from the album “The Genie” (1977)
At the end of the sound clip you can see who the musicians are…
Bobby Lyle – “Mother Nile” from the album “The Genie” (1977)
Bobby Lyle – “Good Inside” from the album “New Warrior” (Capitol, 1978)
Listen to Bobby´s deep and soulful voice!
Bobby Lyle – “New Warrior” from the album “New Warrior” (1978)
Bobby Lyle – “The Jam” from the album “New Warrior” (1978)
Bobby Lyle – “Ivory Dreams” from the album “Ivory Dreams” (1989)
Bobby Lyle – “It Entered My Mind” from the album “The Journey” (1990)
The Journey was something that Bobby worked on when his first wife Delores passed away in ’89. She died of Lupus.
Bobby Lyle – “Paradise Cove” from the album “Secret Island” (1992)
Below are some videos where you can see Bobby Lyle performing.
Al Jarreau (Bobby Lyle as musical director) – “I Will Be Here For You” (live in Germany, 1985)
Musicians are; Al Jarreau (voc), Bobby Lyle – (keyb and musical director), James Studer (keyb), Charles “Icarus” Johnson (g), George Hawkins (b), Michael Paulo (sax, fl), Michael “Patches” Stewart (tp), Alex Acuna (dr), Malando Gassama (perc)
Bobby Lyle & Ronnie Laws – Live from ?
Live Performance by “Cafe Soul Allstars” feat. Bobby Lyle – “Get Up On It” live at BB King NYC (Dec. 2007)
Feat.: Bobby Lyle-keys, Duke Jones-tp, Kaspar Galli-guit, Sal Giorgianni-ts, Rene McLean-ss, Paul Frazier-b, Steve Williams-d, Mark Minchello-keys.
Bobby Lyle – solo “Moment’s Notice”by Coltrane during a break in a recording session (2008)
Bobby Lyle B3 Band – “Road Song” live at Cezanne (2010)
Bobby Lyle – Hammond B3 Organ, Mike Wheeler – Guitar, Woody Witt – Saxes & Sebastian Whittaker – Drums
Bobby Lyle sits down with Diane Dayton in an interview there Bobby talks about being an eclectic musician and his mother as his first teacher. He shares thoughts about teaching young people jazz. and how he chose music over athletics as a young person. (2010)