Bobby Lyle has been a fixture in the jazz scene for more than three decades. He has distinguished himself as a performing artist, composer, recording artist (with product on Capitol Jazz, Atlantic Jazz, Three Keys, Heads Up, and now his own label, New Warrior Music); musical director, music publisher, and music educator.
Lyle began his professional career at the age of 16, playing in local clubs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After high school, he enrolled in Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. Where he took two years of advanced piano studies before hitting the road as a full-time musician. A move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles with his family set in motion a fortuitous set of circumstances that led him to Jazz Crusader co-founder Wayne Henderson, who secured his first record deal (with Capitol Jazz); and also became his first record producer and mentor in the business. Subsequent deals with Atlantic Jazz, Three Keys, and Heads Up allowed him to compile a prolific discography of music over the decades.
His musical “Lyle” journey has taken him all over the world to various festivals and venues. He has served as musical director for such notable artists: Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Bette Midler (with whom he scored an Emmy nomination for her HBO special Diva Las Vegas), and Phyliss Hyman. His 1990 project The Journey made it to #1 on the Billboard jazz chart, and he is still the only artist whose record (Straight and Smooth on the Three Keys label, 2005) appeared on both the Billboard Magazine smooth jazz, and the Billboard traditional jazz charts at the same time. Bobby is still traveling with his own band, but is also involved with teaching and mentoring jazz piano students both privately and in seminars and clinics.
He ‘adopted’ Walker Elementary School by establishing a program where needy but exceptional students could receive band instruments to use for the school year. Bobby has become an integral part of the Houston, TX. music scene as a performer and educator; and was awarded a “Bobby Lyle Day” plaque by mayor Anise Parker on August 12, 2012. That same year he began work on his first Hammond B-3 organ CD, “The Way I Feel”—a tribute to the late, great Jimmy Smith and guitarist Wes Montgomery. The CD was released in 2013 on his own label (New Warrior Music) and is available on CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.com. In 2014 Lyle, in association with smooth jazz radio personality Guy Michaels, launched Houston’s first ever TV Jazz Show called The J-Spot.
Taped in front of a live audience, The J-Spot has become a prominent showcase for the wealth of musical talent in the Houston area, and will ultimately feature national recording artists as well. Bobby will be the permanent host for the show, as well as make occasional appearances as a performer.
The sky is the limit for this multi-faceted man of music as he continues to explore opportunities to perform with various configurations of his piano bands, organ trio, and perform as a solo pianist. Keep up with his current and future activities at bobbylylekeyboards.com.