February 26, 2024

Legendary Big Band arranger, composer, pianist, and Finale user Bob Florence died today.
Date: May 15, 2008 6:51:24 PM CDT
Subject: [Trombone-l] Bob Florence

I am very sad to report the passing of pianist, composer, arranger
and bandleader Bob Florence. He died this afternoon after a long
illness. He was a brilliant and dedicated musician who never stopped
searching for ways to express emotions through music.

Those who knew him and his music have lost a great friend.

Best wishes,

Alex Iles”

Bob was a great guy, and I had numerous emails back and forth with him about notation and what not. He was also one of my favorite big band arrangers, with tunes like BBC and Carmello’s By The Freeway. He will be missed.
UPDATE: All About Jazz has an article about Bob’s untimely passing.
UPDATERemoved some guy’s posts about Bob who was impersonating someone else. So, if some of the comments reference it, you know why.

15 thoughts on “Bob Florence Dies

  1. I am deeply sadden to hear that Bob Florence has past. He was a wonderful friend and I am so honored to have known him, work with him and learn from him. You are gone, but your music and legacy will be here forever!

  2. p.s. I mean the negative comments made on Bob Florence were insensitive and ignorant…and uncalled for.

    I think we all know. If any of us have half the success Bob Florence did we would be grateful.

  3. Hi all,

    I see that my note sent to a few friends has circulated onto your list! Cool list!!

    I am rather struck by Mr. Riecht’s comments about my friend and musical mentor, Bob. Now, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and I know several people that might not list Bob as their “favorite” composer/arranger/pianist…whatever. But “not very talented”???

    I think if he had ever sat in with the band or heard it live, he might have a different opinion.

    But then again, based on what I just listened to he would have never gotten the chance.

    His solo begins about 30 seconds into it, folks. I myself got through about 10 seconds of Mr. [or perhaps “Captain?”] Leicht before my questions were answered. Those answers being…”mostly derivative, out of time, and poorly executed”.

    Glass houses, Mr. Leicht.


  4. Bruno, even if you don’t think someone is talented, an obituary article is not a polite place to post it.

    Furthermore, death is very tough and sad for friends and family, no matter if someone is young or old, healthy or infirm.

    Learn to have a heart. It may be a tough lesson for you.

    To understand the talent of Bob Florence, all one has to do is listen to his arrangement of “Emily,” a song I had the honor of performing in the Daddios band, with Mr. Florence at the piano.

    Bob Florence’s musical legacy will live on. I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends. He was a sweet, extremely talented, wonderful person.

  5. I had the privilege of playing with Bob this spring with the Daddios in Sunnyvale, CA, and I was not only amazed but humbled! (The guys I usually play with will think someone else typed this message for me.) This man, when he sat down to the piano at our rehearsal, reached for his glasses case and trembled just taking the glasses out of the case. He proceeded to play Emily–an extremely sensitive piece that opens with an very long, slow, and lyrical unaccompanied piano solo–with such touch and sensitivity that I couldn’t even believe he was the same man whose hands quivered when putting on his glasses.

    I am in my 40s and find myself complaining that this or that is too difficult and get frustrated, and I’m a pretty good trumpet player. Mr. Florence is such a professional, though, and a very pleasant person, even with his obvious struggles, that I felt ashamed and guilty for ever feeling sorry for myself.

    I only met him once, but today is now a sad day for me… knowing that I won’t get another chance to see and hear him perform… and that was just from his musicianship… As a person, he was very friendly and joyous to be around, too, at our traditional post-gig “hang!”

  6. Dear Alex —

    do you really think that Bruno Leicht, a real jazz connaisseur, would write such bullshit about an honorable and highly respected musician like Bob Florence? Just think about it for a second.

    Best wishes,


  7. Hi All,

    sorry for the irritations caused by the above fellow and his insane comrades (Nancy, Warren Balfour and KV)!

    As being a fan of big bands and a performing jazz musician myself, I never would write such crap about one of my fellow arrangers and composers, even if I wouldn’t appreciate his works. And I love Bob’s writing!

    The stupidity of those above comments will fall back on their originators.

    R.I.P. Bob Florence

    Thanks and regards,

    Bruno Leicht

  8. P.S.: to Alex Iles,

    what? Out of time? Let’s call it “flowing” around time, ha ha! — Seriosly, I actually sat in with a lot of guys, but I never had the chance of meeting Bob Florence. I watched the UTube-video and he, although apparently very ill already, he seemed having been a very kind and humble gentleman. I have listened to “Eyes”, one of his early works he did for Harry James, back in 1960. What a brilliant chart this is!

    Thanks to the administrators for clearing that case!

    Swingin’ regards,


  9. Gosh, Bruno! Serious bummer that someone would do that! Nice to meet you, though, and I’m glad it got cleared up and that your are a nice person! 🙂

  10. To everyone on this list,

    I most humbly apoligize for my response to the “fake” Bruno. I will not make excuses for what I wrote, but only say that in the wake of my reflecting about Bob Florence, I was shocked as I read those comments by the person using Bruno’s identity. My over-reaction momentarily clouded my better judgement.

    I did not know who Bruno was before I stumbled into the conversation here at jazz-sax.com and my response was really one step away being as bad as the troll himself.

    I am truly sorry for , as DE correctly said, “not thinking about it for a second” before responding. I have even wintnessed people fall into the trap of making emotional comments on internet forums, only to find out later that their entire reason for flying off the handle was based on false assumptions. I knew better, but my anger clouded my better judgement here and made me react in a very hurtful way.

    For that, I am very sorry.

    As far as what I wrote in my note…

    It is rash and unfair for anyone to judge ANY musician on the basis of one 30-45 second soundbite. My comments were [misinformed as they were] directed at someone attacking someone close to me who only resently passed away. I was therefore listening in a defensive way from the start.

    Since Bruno’s true identity has been revealed to me, I must say that I enjoyed listening to the music on his site and truly respect his commitment to sharing his own and others music. Again, I hold ANYONE committed to music making the way B does it in the highest regard and my anger only clouded me from seeing him in objective way. I hope he accepts my apology in this light.

    My only hope is that all of you do not judge me as badly as I judged who I thought was the fake Bruno.

    I also apologize to everyone here for lowering this exchange to the very level of the troll himself.

    Bob Florence was a great friend and mentor and I do miss him very much. Thanks to everyone for making so many positive comments on his behalf. I plan on forwarding them to his family.

    Most Humbly,

    Alex Iles

  11. Dear Alex —

    your reaction was completely understandable, so nobody will judge you badly at all.

    This low person who wrote the fake comment should urgently see a psychiatrist.

    For now, best wishes


  12. Thanks a lot, Nancy, ericdano, Alex and Der Erpel!

    Sorry, Nancy, for putting your name in the brackets. But we cleared our issues, haven’t we?

    Alex, no further problem with me because I understand the anger you’ve felt and expressed. It’s absolutely shameless and shows the true “character” of that “man” what he had written by stealing my name. Anyway, Bob Florence will be best remembered when bands play his charts, when people are listening to his recordings and discuss them.

    Alex, I’ve watched you at UTube and found something for trumpet players what I’d read somewhere else already: #1 is breath control! I also agree with what you’d said about ones limitations and that it would be better trying to use one embouchure only and go as far as possible with that, each day a little bit farer. Very good lesson! It’s indeed not practical to change the position of the mouthpiece every time you change the register.

    Okay, folks, this will be my last word on that sad topic and let’s hope the very best for the future.

    Thanks and cordially yours truly,


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