New musical interpretations and arrangements from pianist and educator Bob Allen will be no more. He died peacefully August 29, 2015 at age 75. More time has passed than I realized since I learned of his passing but his music will always linger on.
Audio samples of Invitation, My Favorite Things, My One and Only Love and West Side Story
“This business of getting old is certainly not for the faint of heart. I don't think young people could take it! :) It just takes more doctors and good drugs!"
Bob's words can be most appreciated when the challenges throughout life he encountered are considered. A Memoriam may be read at the American Council for the Blind with recollections of his personal interests. His determination evidenced at an early age as he developed skills generally thought of as being only for the sighted.
I described further adaptations he made in later life, due to health issues, in these two previous posts also featuring what seems now to be an especially moving YouTube video of his piano music arrangement of "One Less Bell To Answer":
Bob’s unique musical arrangements were enjoyed in Central Ohio performances by so many people over 50 years. Bob Prahin (Bob Allen was his stage name)
“… was a titan of Columbus jazz, well-known for his 20+ year engagement with his trio at the Christopher Inn downtown and countless memorable performances throughout the region. He released 8 albums with the trio, including a popular live album recorded at the Christopher Inn.” Andrew Patton wrote in JazzColumbus Weekly.
When the Christopher Inn first opened Bob continued performing as a duo with my husband as bassist as they had been entertaining at Stouffer’s University Inn where I had first heard this marvelous pianist. Several years later we relocated out of town when my husband’s career path led elsewhere but I recall with pleasure a return visit which included a memorable evening listening to the trio at the Christopher Inn.
"Love For Sale" 5:08
Bob’s trio continued to entertain at lounges, the Maramor, regularly at Hyde Park Grill for many years where I last listened to the group in 2006 with his mesmerizing arrangements such as in this informally recorded video by Victoria Summers December 18, 2004:
“He loved to incorporate counterpoint into his arrangements..."
“…bandleader Rick Brunetto, who considered Prahin a mentor and his dearest friend…was quoted by JoAnne Vivano in the Columbus Dispatch:
“He was a great virtuoso pianist,” Brunetto said. “He could almost move people to tears with the beauty of his ability to play.”
“Brunetto joined the trio as a drummer in the mid-1970s and played with Prahin for 13 years.”
“I consider him to be the greatest musician I’ve ever known,” he said. “It’s just a terrible loss to the music community.”
“Among his greatest gifts was his creativity and the ability to blend classical music and jazz into something new, said Brunetto and Prahin’s wife of nearly 11 years, Mickey Prahin.”
How often do we realize too late we should have made responsive contact sooner with special others in our life? I guess we get caught up in our own lives allowing more time to pass than we realize. Perhaps when we reach “a certain age” (but which one I’m not sure) we should check-in with each other more frequently. Remembering Bob, we’ll always have the music….
"Moonlight Becomes You" 7:07
"Love Story" 5:18
"I Say A Little Prayer" 4:13