ROB BLAINE – A LIFETIME OF MUSIC
|Rob Blaine’s musical career began at age twelve with keyboard and later guitar lessons. He was blessed to have parents who believed in providing opportunities for their children to develop their interests and hobbies. Early experience as a musician was gained by playing organ at church services on Sunday mornings. After finishing school and national service, Rob attended a music school that specialized in jazz. This was to be the start of a full-time career in music that focused primarily on teaching and performing.
From this point on things began to slowly develop, first with gigs at smaller venues and then at more prominent prestigious venues. The Green Dolphin Restaurant was a hot spot for live jazz in Cape Town throughout the 90’s. Rob’s own band “The Rob Blaine trio” was fortunate to feature on many occasions at that venue. Throughout this period Rob continued to play covers and jazz standards, but as time passed, he realized that unoriginal material would never provide the kind of musical satisfaction he craved. It was around this time that digital recording using personal computers was coming into its own. He began writing at a prolific rate and though his early compositions didn’t produce much interest locally, overseas interest via the net had begun to take early roots.
It’s important to note that Rob’s musical career began at around the same time that affirmative action was instituted in South Africa. This effectively meant no funding for his work. Recordings, performances of original works had to be self-funded. (Terrestrial radio stations in South Africa today still refuse to play his music). None of Rob’s work is distributed in South Africa, primarily due to affirmative action. Though many would regard this as an insurmountable obstacle, Rob wasn’t as easily deterred as many would expect – especially not the local music industry in his country.
Another important aspect of note is that Rob’s primary genre of choice, American smooth jazz, places him in direct opposition to the South African music industry, an organization that, as far as jazz is concerned, has committed itself to growing South African ethnic jazz. Although collaboration with local South African talent does take place on Rob’s albums, these works are coolly received by the SA music industry. When interviewed by a local radio DJ on a national broadcasting station, some controversy occurs with regard to Rob’s eligibility for being interviewed as a South African jazz musician, the issue being – is Rob (a white South African born in South Africa and who has lived in South Africa all his life) a South African jazz musician?
Despite such setbacks, Rob has completed six albums to date, the latest being a tribute album to pianist Richard Clayderman – a childhood influence. This album is his only non-original work. Like other artist’s work, Rob’s music is widely distributed via the internet (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc.) and he is well-known outside South Africa for his musical contributions. Since 2008 till present, he has been listed on Reverbnation.com’s top 10 for the jazz genre in Cape Town. Musicians and listeners abroad indicate a keen interest in his work.
As previously mentioned, throughout Rob’s performing career, he has been a music tutor. After having previously taught all age groups throughout his career, Rob decided to specialize in teaching young children. His “Little Mozarts” program for young musicians has received much acclaim from both parents and pupils. His current musical project for this year is an album of ambient music for strings. A new album of smooth jazz is also in the pipeline for 2019.