Bob Peckman


In the January 2001 issue of Cadence, Frank Rubolino says Bob subtly dictates the direction of the combo, controlling without being overt, allowing the group members free rein while the undercurrent of his drumming forms the backbone of the tunes. In the December 1999 issue of Cadence, Jim Santella refers to Bob Peckman as "a tasteful drummer who colors the arrangements with Art Blakey trademarks and a variety of textures". Bob grew up near New York, listening to Art Blakey, Shelley Manne, Ed Thigpen and Max Roach as well as the New York Latin bands. He also played at Les Paul's house with son Russ. By age 17 he was imitating the great jazz drummers and booking straight-ahead gigs using seasoned professionals in the area.

Bob continued to perform in the local jazz scene while earning B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics. During the number of years that he was a jazz-playing physics professor, his early love of Latin music was rekindled. He studied Latin percussion with Paul Patterson and started integrating the Latin styles into his set playing. When he moved into industry, he continued performing and exploring the Latin influences that were becoming an integral part of his personal sound on the drum set.

Bob played a Billy Taylor clinic for the Roanoke Symphony which forever changed his playing style. He has also studied with Robert Jospe, but is especially endebted to his coach, mentor and friend, Ronnie Free, who continues to teach him to find his own way and self.

Eventually his industrial job got in the way of jazz and he gave up his day gig. Since that time Bob has performed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with Dan Adams, Harry Allen, Tom Artwick, Elias Bailey, Walter Bell, Royce Campbell, Eddie "Will" Davis, Helane Fontaine, Vincent Gross, Al Jeter, Gary Klein, Lisanne Lyons, Hans Mantel, Lenny Marcus, Rene Marie, Chip McNeill, Gary Moran, Stephanie Nakasian, Hod O'Brien, Gene Perla, Alan Watson and Jerry Weldon, and toured in Europe with his groups. He recorded Straight Ahead and In the Pocket as a group leader and performed on John Bain's Epitome of Cool and Karl Kimmel's jazz CD Absolutely Chanukah. Bob's third recording as a leader, with co-leader, Vincent Gross, is Alone Together. The fourth, Go With The Flow, was made with Jerry Weldon, Royce Campbell, and Gary Moran. We Three was a long-overdue recording Royce Campbell and Alan Watson playing the Hammond B3. Then came Sketches in Time with Alan playing a grand piano, Royce, Tom Artwick and Gene Perla. Sketches includes Latin grooves, even a merengue, smooth ballads, straight ahead swing and a little 2nd line.

Bob also wrote a program for children about citizenship, jazz, and the history of jazz, How Playing Jazz Is Like Being a Good American Citizen. It was presented several times for Young Audiences of Virginia. In addition to playing, Bob also likes to remain physically active hiking in the mountains and paddling the rapids. In 2012 he rode his bicycle from Anacortes, WA to Bar Harbor, ME, in 2013 rode the Jylland Peninsular of Denmark, in 2014 the Trans America route from Yorktown, VA, up the Rockies, and over to Florence, OR and continues to enjoy cycle touring.