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.

Ways to Connect

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Many years ago, a group of teenage musicians decided to form a small jazz band in South Philly—they went on to become high-profile players in the jazz world. The band included Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums, Bobby Timmons on piano, Henry Grimes on bass fiddle, Ted Curson on trumpet, Richard “Buzzy” Wilson on alto sax, and Sam Reed on tenor sax.

During a recent interview, saxophone great Larry Mckenna was right on target when he shared that often in other cities, when people found out he was from Philadelphia, they’d ask him if he knew fellow Philadelphia  saxophone great Bootsie Barnes. 

When a dynamic figure in any walk of life departs, writers and just plain folks, usually try to recall certain events about the departed in which they may have been involved, or heard about.

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When I was a kid growing up in South Philly, there was an older fellow down the block who was trying to play an alto saxophone. He wasn't doing well at it.

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.

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