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Jazz Journeyman Robert ‘Bob’ Rudolph Dead at 82

Robert “Bob” Rudolph, a jazz trombonist who played with bandleaders including Woody Herman and Sam Kenton, and went on to work for Monument Records, died of pneumonia on Oct. 8, 2021 in Hendersonville, Tenn. He was 82.

Rudolph had a multi-tiered life in the music industry, according to his son John Rudolph, CEO of 1.618 Industries — formerly Music Analytics — which often serves as an advisor in music publishing acquisitions. In addition to being a staunch musician union advocate and member, Bob Rudolph was a journeyman musician who backed the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Vic Damone, Ella Fitzgerald, and Edie Gorme until the late 1960’s; and also worked for Monument Records, handling marketing and promotions in the Chicago area, working music for the likes of Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Roy Orbison and others.

In 1970, the Rudolph family moved to Hendersonville, as he continued to play hundreds of gigs while also beginning a promotions/advertising career with the Nashville radio station WKDF; and was eventually a member of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

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Rudolph, who was born July 15, 1939, wrestled with a substance abuse issue beginning in 1980’s which lasted until after the turn of the century. When he became sober, he was a substance abuse counselor in Nashville, working with many music artists and music industry professional and others, including stints at Cumberland Heights and the Nashville Metro Drug Court and Jail system, according to his son John, who reports he was awarded the Middle Tennessee Counselor of the Year and the State of Tennessee Counselor of the Year.

By the time John Rudolph was 13, his father had already taken him to see over 100 artist shows, the son reports. “He was an encyclopedia of jazz knowledge, was fascinated by space and planes, loved art, Dali and his granddaughter, ” his son told Billboard. He also reported that his father had one last moment of notoriety when he was charged with simple possession of marijuana for a joint he had smuggled into his nursing home to help him deal with chronic back pain. The charges were subsequently dismissed.

Rudolph is survived by his two sons, John and Robert Rudolph of Washington DC; and his good friends to the end Chicago trombone player Frank Tesinsky, who founded the brass program at the Chicago Public Schools; and Russ Bach (Brumbach), former president of EMI Distribution. The family requests if any readers have notes about Bob for the family or would like to attend a virtual memorial service, please send an email to IMissBobJazz@gmail.com.