Born Albuquerque, NM. Started guitar at age eight but switched to trumpet at age ten. At age twelve, asked to play in a local “dance band” for weddings and dance gigs. Discovered improvisation at first rehearsal. The love affair with jazz started there and has become the driving force in Bobby’s life.
Spent summers after high school in New York City listening to the great jazz masters. Attended the first two years of Stan Kenton Summer Jazz Clinics in Bloomington , IND. In 1959 and 1960, where he was able to study under jazz greats Don Jacoby, Conte Candoli, Johnny Richards, Sam Donahue, John LaPorta, Shelly Manne, etc. Attended UNM for two years studying Architecture and Commercial Art. Drafted into Army, assigned as jazz soloist to NORAD BAND in Colorado Springs. After service, moved to NYC and joined Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, rooming and playing with legendary Charlie Shavers. After Dorsey, went to Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Si Zentner, Benny Goodman. Settled in Las Vegas for 7 years playing top show bands in casinos. Toured as lead trumpeter for Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Robert Goulet, Steve Allen, Paul Anka, Connie Stevens, and Tom Jones. In 1972, moved to Los Angeles and became a first-call studio musician as well as continuing to play on big bands of Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Louie Bellson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ed Shaughnessy, Bill Berry, Don Menza, and Nat Pierce-Frank Capp Juggernaut. In addition, Bobby played and / or recorded with combos of Bud Shank, Horace Silver, Art Pepper, Carl Fontana, and his own highly regarded quintet and sextet.
Co-Designer / developer of SHEW model Yamaha 6310Z & 8310Z trumpets and 6310Z & 8310Z flugelhorns. Designer of SOLOIST mute, Yamaha SHEW series trumpet and flugelhorn mouthpieces as well as SHEW series mouthpieces for the Marcinkiewicz Company and for Kelly Mouthpieces ( Lexan mouthpieces ).
Author of “ETUDES AND EXERCISES FOR JAZZ AND CLASSICAL PLAYER” & “BASIC STUDY GUIDE FOR TRUMPET” . Former Chairman for IAJE (16 years ) and ITG. Former Assoc. Professor of Trumpet at USC ( Los Angeles – 11 years ) , Cal. State Northridge-18 years ) Calif. Institute Of The Arts ( 3 years ) . Numerous Artist-in-Residencies world-wide in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Canada, Austria.
Elected into New Mexico Music Hall Of Fame. Numerous (3) Grammy nominations and 1982 Received Jazz Album Of The Year award from RIANZ ( New Zealand ).
In 2014 awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance and Education from the International Trumpet Guild as well as the Lifetime Jazz LeJENd Award from the Jazz Educators Network. Also awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois.