Arranger-pianist-composer Bob Florence died today in Southern California at 1:04 PM. In the next few days, myriad obits will rightully refer to him in terms of "major figure" and so on and so forth. However, in my occasional conversations and dealings with Bob, I also found him to be sweet, funny, forthcoming, and just flat-out. . .nice. My condolences to his wife Evie and his family.
In mid-summer 2006 Bob backed my friend, singer Pinky Winters, in an evening of Johnny Mandel's music at Hollywood's (long may she wave) Gardenia. I brought along my mp3 recorder to try and capture the procedings. And while what I got was far below the level of Muenster Duhamel Hi-Fi, nonetheless the results should give you a pretty good idea of what it was like whenever Bob even casually sat down at the piano to commune with the instrument. Here is his solo Overture to the evening of Mandel's music.
VENTURA COUNTY STAR OBIT