Bob Perkins

Jazz Host

Also known as "BP with the GM," (translation: "Bob Perkins with the Good Music"), Mr. Perkins has been in the broadcasting industry for more than four decades as an on-air host, and is now commonly referred to as a Philadelphia jazz radio legend.

BP broke into the radio business in 1964 when he landed an on-air job in Detroit. In 1969, his hometown of Philadelphia beckoned him back with a gig at rhythm-and-blues station WDAS, where he worked for the next 19 years. He joined WRTI in 1997.

In addition to his job as jazz host, BP writes numerous columns and commentaries on jazz for local publications in Philadelphia. He also hosts concerts at jazz clubs and at regional festivals.

BP was awarded the 2002 Mellon Jazz Community Award. And in 2007, he was honored with a proclamation for his outstanding contributions to Philadelphia's jazz community by Mayor John Street, Philadelphia City Council, and the House of Representatives in Harrisburg. Wait two seconds and you'll hear about yet another award bestowed on "Ol' BP," as he calls himself.

Hear Bob on Monday through Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 pm, and on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm. Bob is also the voice behind our Great Migration series.

Music recently heard on Bob's show:

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Bob Perkins remembered the iconic jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, when he died on December 5, 2012 at age 91—one day shy of his 92nd birthday.

Meridee Duddleston

It is a strange phenomenon that oftentimes, very likeable and talented souls can go somewhat unnoticed, as far as broad notice and wide appeal is concerned. But thank goodness for those gifted with 20-20’s, big ears and acute senses who can spot good folks with talent, right off.

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Jazz musician Cornelius (Sonny) Fortune died on October 25th, at age 79. Sonny's biography reveals he was a man in perpetual motion, allowing no grass to grow under his feet when it came to perfecting his craft. He used his time and talents wisely and well.

Okayplayer

News of the death of jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove sent shock waves through the jazz community, and even provoked concern among those not into jazz music. There was natural wonder about why he died so young.

Louis Armstrong was to jazz what Einstein was to physics, King to Civil Rights, Shakespeare to comedy and tragedy, and Oprah to televised entertainment. He taught the trumpet to do things the instrument didn't know it was capable of doing, and he could turn a song upside down with that deep, gravelly voice.

Oscar Peterson, The Wonderful Wizard Of The Piano!

Aug 21, 2017

When WRTI Jazz Host Bob Perkins talks about one of his all-time favorite pianists, what does he call him?  The Wonderful Wizard of OZcar!  One of the great jazz pianists of all time, master of the keyboard Oscar Peterson, said he was intimidated by jazz pianist Art Tatum and admired Nat King Cole. But "O.P.," as his friends called him, was a magician who followed his own muse.

Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie have been credited with changing the face of jazz in the mid 1940s. They kicked it up a notch, and ushered in an era known as "modern jazz"—which some dubbed "bebop."


credit: JPRoche

Some folks choose their parents well—and if they are products of outstanding parents, the offspring may follow in their footsteps and duplicate their success. A fellow named Edward “Sonny” Stitt was blessed with relatives steeped in music; he followed their lead and became a legendary jazz musician.

This year, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the first Great Migration, the movement of millions of African-Americans from the rural south to other parts of the U.S. that promised greater social and economic justice and opportunities. The migration included many excellent jazz musicians, some of whom became household names. For these artists, the Great Migration also provided inspiration for their creative expression.

Witnessing certain events, and meeting certain people earlier in life, can sometimes become meaningful as time goes by—especially when the witness goes on to become a writer, historian, or otherwise chronicler of life’s personalities and events.

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