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Bobby Few

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Instruments  Piano, vocals
Name  Bobby Few

Role  Jazz Pianist
Genres  Jazz
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Born  October 21, 1935 (age 80) Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. (1935-10-21)
Associated acts  Albert Ayler, Steve Lacy, Frank Wright
Education  Cleveland Institute of Music
Movies  Steve Lacy: Master of the Soprano Sax
Albums  Songs for my Mother, Tribute to the Great Thelonious Monk
Similar People  Noah Howard, Steve Potts, Jean‑Jacques Avenel, John Betsch, Steve Lacy

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Bobby Few (born October 21, 1935) is an American jazz pianist and vocalist.


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Early life

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Few was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in the Fairfax neighborhood of the city's East Side. Upon his mother's encouragement, he studied classical piano but later discovered jazz upon listening to his father's Jazz at the Philharmonic records. His father became his first booking agent and soon Few was gigging around the greater Cleveland area with other local musicians including Bill Hardman, Bob Cunningham, Cevera Jefferies and Frank Wright. He was exposed to Tadd Dameron and Benny Bailey as a youth and knew Albert Ayler, with whom he played in high school. As a young man, Few also gigged with local tenor legend Tony "Big T" Lovano - Joe Lovano's father.


In the late 1950s Few relocated to New York, where he led a trio from 1958 to 1964; there, he met and began working with many world class musicians, including singer Brook Benton, and saxophonists Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson and Ayler. Few played on several of Ayler's albums and also recorded with Alan Silva, Noah Howard, Muhammad Ali, Booker Ervin, and Kali Fasteau. In 1969 he moved to France and rapidly integrated the expatriate jazz community, working frequently with Archie Shepp, Sunny Murray, Steve Lacy and Rasul Siddik. Since 2001, he has played regularly with American saxophonist Avram Fefer, with whom he recorded four critically acclaimed CDs.

Few has played extensively around Europe and continues to make regular trips back to the United States. Recently, he has played with saxophonist Charles Gayle and leads his own trio in Paris. He is currently working on a Booker Ervin tribute project called Few's Blues that features tenor player Tony Lakatos, bassist Reggie Johnson and drummer Doug Sides. Few was interviewed in a 2008 documentary, later released on DVD, on drummer Sunny Murray - "Sunny's Time Now".

Playing style

Some of Few's various playing styles were described by Kevin Whitehead: "He can play delicate single-note melodies, roll out lush romantic chords, rap out explicitly Monkish close-interval clanks - though he's a busier pianist than Monk - or roil around in classic free style, using a sustain pedal to shape the density of his sound".


Years in brackets refer to dates of recording.

As leader or co-leader

  • More or Less Few (Center of the World, 1973)
  • Solos and Duets (Sun, 1975) with Alan Silva and Frank Wright
  • Solos and Duets Vol 2 (Sun, 1975) with Alan Silva and Frank Wright
  • Few Comin' Thru (Sun, 1977)
  • Continental Jazz Express (Vogue, 1979)
  • Diom Futa (Free Lance, 1979) with Cheikh Tidiane Fall and Jo Maka
  • Rhapsody in Few (Black Lion, 1983)
  • Mysteries (Miss You Jazz, 1992)
  • Expatriate Kin (CIMP, 1997) with Kali Fasteau and Noah Howard
  • Few and Far Between (Boxholder, 2000) with Avram Fefer and Wilber Morris
  • Continental Jazz Express (Boxholder, 2000)
  • Let It Rain (2002)
  • Kindred Spirits (Boxholder, 2004) with Avram Fefer
  • Heavenly Places (Boxholder, 2004) with Avram Fefer
  • Lights and Shadows (Boxholder, 2004)
  • Sanctuary (CIMP, 2005) with Avram Fefer
  • True Wind (Hello World!, 2007) with Sonny Simmons
  • As sideman

    With Albert Ayler

  • Music is the Healing Force of the Universe (Impulse!, 1969)
  • The Last Album (Impulse!, 1969)
  • With Hans Dulfer

  • El Saxofón (Catfish, 1970)
  • With Mike Ellis

  • What Else is New? (Alfa, 1985)
  • With Booker Ervin

  • The In Between (Blue Note, 1968)
  • With Zusaan Kali Fasteau

  • Sensual Hearing (Flying Note, 1994–95)
  • Camaraderie (Flying Note, 1997)
  • Making Waves (Flying Note, 2004)
  • With Ricky Ford

  • Songs for My Mother (Jazz Friends Production, 2001)
  • With Noah Howard

  • Space Dimension (America, 1969)
  • Red Star (Mercury, 1977)
  • Traffic (Frame, 1980)
  • In Concert (Cadence, 1997)
  • Live at the Unity Temple (Ayler, 1997)
  • With Talib Kibwe

  • Egyptian Oasis (Cryonic, 1986)
  • With Steve Lacy

  • Ballets (hat ART, 1981)
  • Songs (hat ART, 1981) with Brion Gysin
  • The Flame (Soul Note, 1982)
  • Blinks (hat ART, 1983)
  • Lift the Bandstand (1983) DVD
  • Prospectus (hat ART, 1983)
  • The Condor (Soul Note, 1985)
  • The Gleam (Silkheart, 1986)
  • Momentum (RCA Novus, 1987)
  • The Door (RCA Novus, 1988)
  • Anthem (RCA Novus, 1989)
  • Itinerary (hat ART, 1990)
  • Live At Sweet Basil (RCA Novus, 1991)
  • Associates (Felmay, 1992)
  • Clangs (hat ART, 1992)
  • Vespers (Soul Note, 1993)
  • Findings (CMAP, 1994)
  • With David Murray

  • Flowers Around Cleveland (Bleu Regard, 1995)
  • With Sunny Murray

  • Aigu-Grave (Marge, 1979)
  • With Archie Shepp

  • Pitchin Can (America, 1970)
  • Coral Rock (America, 1970)
  • With Alan Silva

  • Treasure Box (Eremite, 2001)
  • With Marzette Watts

  • The Marzette Watts Ensemble (Savoy, 1968)
  • With Joe Lee Wilson

  • Secrets From The Sun (Sun, 1977)
  • With Frank Wright

  • One for John (BYG, 1969)
  • Church Number Nine (Calumet, 1970)
  • Uhuru na Umoja (Emarcy, 1970)
  • Center of the World (Center of the World, 1972)
  • For Example - Workshop Freie Musik 1969 - 1978 (FMP, 1972)
  • Last Polka in Nancy? (Center of the World, 1973)
  • Unity (ESP-Disk, 1974)
  • References

    Bobby Few Wikipedia