|Born||October 21, 1935|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||January 6, 2021(aged 85)|
|Associated acts||Albert Ayler, Steve Lacy, Frank Wright|
Bobby Few (October 21, 1935 – January 6, 2021) was an American jazz pianist and vocalist.
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. From 2001, he toured internationally with American saxophonist Avram Fefer, with whom he recorded four critically acclaimed CDs.
Few played extensively around Europe and made regular trips back to the United States. Recently, he played with saxophonist Charles Gayle and led his own trio in Paris. He was working on a Booker Ervin tribute project called Few's Blues that featured 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".
Bobby Few died in January 2021, aged 85.
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".
As leader or co-leader
|1973||More or Less Few||Center of the World||Trio, with Alan Silva (bass), Muhammad Ali (drums)|
|1975||Solos and Duets||Sun||Solo piano; most tracks are by Alan Silva and Frank Wright, without Few|
|1975||Solos and Duets Vol 2||Sun||Duo, with Alan Silva; other tracks are by Silva and Frank Wright, without Few|
|1977||Few Coming Thru||Sun||Solo piano|
|1979||Continental Jazz Express||Vogue||Solo piano|
|1979||Diom Futa||Free Lance||Trio, with Jo Maka (soprano sax), Cheikh Tidiane Fall (percussion)|
|1983||Rhapsody in Few||Black Lion||Trio, with Alan Silva (bass), Muhammad Ali (drums)|
|1992||Mysteries||Miss You Jazz|
|1997||Expatriate Kin||CIMP||Trio, with Zusaan Kali Fasteau (cello, soprano sax), Noah Howard (alto sax)|
|2000||Continental Jazz Express||Boxholder||Solo piano; in concert|
|2000||Few and Far Between||Boxholder||Trio, with Avram Fefer (tenor sax), Wilber Morris (bass); in concert|
|2002||Let It Rain|
|2002||Live in New York||Boxholder|
|2004||Kindred Spirits||Boxholder||Duo, with Avram Fefer (tenor sax, clarinet)|
|2004||Heavenly Places||Boxholder||Duo, with Avram Fefer (tenor sax, clarinet)|
|2004||Lights and Shadows||Boxholder||Solo piano|
|2005||Sanctuary||CIMP||with Avram Fefer|
|2007||True Wind||Hello World!||with Sonny Simmons|
Years in brackets refer to dates of recording.
With Albert Ayler
With Avram Fefer
- Few and Far Between (Boxholder 2002) w/ Wilber Morris
- Kindred Spirits (Boxholder, 2005)
- Heavenly Places (Boxholder, 2005)
- Sanctuary (CIMP, 2006) w/ Newman Taylor Baker, Hill Greene
With Hans Dulfer
- El Saxofón (Catfish, 1970)
With Mike Ellis
- What Else is New? (Alfa, 1985)
With Booker Ervin
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
- Songs (hat ART, 1981) with Brion Gysin
- Ballets (hat ART, 1981)
- The Flame (Soul Note, 1982)
- Blinks (hat ART, 1983)
- Lift the Bandstand (1983) DVD
- Prospectus (hat ART, 1983) also released as Cliches
- 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, 1991)
- Live at Sweet Basil (RCA Novus, 1992)
- Associates (Felmay, 1992)
- Clangs (hat ART, 1993)
- 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
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)
- Wilmer, Valerie. In Uhuru Na Umoja [Musidisc-Europe LP liner notes].
- Whitehead, Kevin (April 4, 2002). "Avram Fefer & Bobby Few", Chicago Reader.
- Weaver, Arnold (January 6, 1994). "The return of a native legend", Call & Post, [Cleveland, Ohio], p. SH.
- Denis, Jacques (January 7, 2021). "Mort de Bobby Few, pianiste sans chapelle". Libération. Retrieved January 8, 2021.