photo credit to Don VerPloeg
Welcome to the website of Rod Blumenau, upstate New York jazz pianist, composer and arranger. Please scroll down to see the latest content!
Rod is in the process of relocating to Seattle, and has no further performances in the upstate New York area. Check this website periodically to see news, new recordings, and any Seattle area performances he may become involved in!
Rod has performed on stage with Gene Bertoncini, Cab Calloway, Regina Carter, Eddie Daniels, Wild Bill Davison, Tia Fuller, Stefon Harris, Tamir Hendelman, Sean Jones, Nancy Kelly, André Kostelanetz, Erich Kunzel, Jack Maheu, Kevin Mahogany, Russell Malone, Henry Mancini, Bob McGrath, Darmon Meader, Ken Peplowski, Roberta Peters, Jake Shimabukuro, Terell Stafford, Ike Sturm, Clark Terry, Mel Tormé, Spiegle Willcox, and has performed at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.
Rod Blumenau plays jazz piano in the Rochester and upstate New York area. He enjoys playing small group swing,
bop, funk, Latin and other jazz styles, and is one of the few remaining keyboardists who can perform convincing "stride" piano in
the Fats Waller, Art Tatum or Teddy Wilson manner. Rod's jazz concerts are noted for their thematic coherence, and his thoughtful
and entertaining explanation of the music performed and its history.
Rod showed an aptitude for and a love of music at an early age, and began studying piano at the age of five, and clarinet and saxophone a few years later. But possessing high math SAT scores in the post-Sputnik era, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Master's of Science in Management.
Rod enjoyed a 32-year career with Eastman Kodak in computer information systems and strategic manufacturing planning, while continuing to perform music as an avocation.
Rod retired from the business world in 1998 and immediately became a full-time musician, taking a gig as piano accompanist in the Penfield (NY) public schools, where he also led the 7-8th grade jazz ensemble for 14 years, arranging all their music for the particular instrumentation he had at the time. He has now "retired" a second time, but continues to arrange vocal, jazz band, and orchestral jazz music for students, plays nightclubs and jazz concerts, and is a first-call sideman in the upstate New York area. A member of ASCAP, Rod's original jazz compositions are published by the Neil A Kjos Music Company. Each summer Rod shares his love and knowledge of jazz with adult students at the TriTone Fantasy Jazz Camp in Wisconsin.
Any of Rod's CDs listed below can be ordered directly from him for $10 plus postage. Please use the CONTACT ROD segment below. 'Facets of Jazz' was recorded with Rod's original trio (Brad Paxton, drums; Barney Mallon, bass) live at the Strong Museum in 1999. Tunes include I'm Old Fashioned, Avalon, Sweet and Lovely, Peacocks, There'll Be Some Changes Made, Stealin' Apples, Old Folks, and others. 'It Could Be Verse' is a 2006 studio recording with Brad on drums and incredible bassist Jeff Campbell. We play new interpretations of old chestnuts, including the rarely heard verses. Bill Thompson was the engineer, giving us great recorded sound. Songs include It's Only a Paper Moon, Lover Man, Let's Fall In Love, Always, That Old Feeling, Makin' Whoopee, Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams, Getting Sentimental Over You, and several more. "Jazz Impressions of the Beatles" introduces the Rod Blumenau Quartet, featuring Gabe Condon on guitar, Jeff Campbell on bass, and Brad Paxton on drums. It is comprised of all Lennon/McCartney tunes performed in diverse jazz styles, and was recorded live at the Rochester Institute of Technology in December 2009. Some of the tunes: Yesterday; I Saw Her Standing There; Norwegian Wood; Blackbird; Eleanor Rigby; and Because. "Jazzography" features the same quartet live at RIT in 2012, and includes examples of different styles of jazz that grew up in different parts of the western hemisphere. Tunes include: Oleo; Half Steppin'; My Funny Valentine; That Old Feeling; Samba de Orfeu; and Bags' Groove.
To order CDs, inquire about hiring Rod and his group or just shoot the breeze, please email him directly at rod [at] rodbjazz [dot] com