From The Saturday Light Brigade: Music and conversation in memory of Leon Redbone with his former pianist and musical director Tom Roberts.
At the bottom of my staircase is my newly framed Geology of Leon Redbone containing most of his musical ancestors and as I passed it, I began to cry.
I began to cry because I am who I am today because of him.
Every significant event in my life was influenced by him.Read More
Thinking of Leon Redbone, who passed away this week.
Tom Roberts has gone from high school music teacher to touring piano man
Saturday, July 21, 2001
By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic
Tom Roberts' journey to playing piano on the latest Leon Redbone album, "Anytime," began on the stage of Graffiti.
Roberts wasn't on stage.
Roberts, at the time a Schenley High School music teacher, was in the audience. As he recalls, "I said, 'I've always wanted to play with this guy. I need to get out of this town.' So I gave him a tape on stage."
Tom Roberts accompanies the silent films "The Rink," "The Pawn Shop" and "Kid Auto Races at Venice California" in his own score with Mary Beth Malek on clarinet.
In this conversation with Jim Cunningham, they describe the genius of Charlie Chaplin, provide details on the event, and talk about the music they will play along with four excerpts from the score or the films recorded in the WQED-FM studio.
Sure, Leon Redbone changed my life.
In 1990 I went on tour with Redbone, which was a dream come true. My first performance on the road was The Tonight Show! I had never left Pittsburgh and was starting feel as if life would be a tragedy and that I needed to escape. I realized that life was more than just working at something that you didn’t like, let alone love and tried to escape the previous year with a failed attempt to move to New Orleans and play music exclusively.
This all changed after June 1990.Read More
Pittsburgh’s rockin' rhythm & jazz trio, The Red Beans & Rice Combo, will serve up a delightful musical gumbo with their debut recording, Let the Joy Begin!Read More
Tom devised original music to accompany Rick Sebak's program Meat Pittsburgh, which debuted on WQED TV this month.
Hear Rick Sebak's conversation with (vegetarian!) Jim Cunningham on WQED radio and highlights of Tom's compositions.
From Nebby: Rick Sebak's Tales of Greater Pittsburgh:
"The coincidental connection between Route 88 and 88 keys on a piano came to me one morning in the editing room. Then I knew I wanted piano music for the whole program. I guess I was ranting about it somewhat loudly because WQED’s popular TV cook Chris Fennimore happened to be walking by the editing room, overheard me, and he said, 'Call Tom Roberts. He’s a great piano player, and I think he’d like to do this. I’ll send you his info. He’d be perfect.'"