Zurke, Bob [Robert Albert; Zukowski, Bogusław Albert]
- Ken Rattenbury
- , revised by Barry Kernfeld
[Robert Albert; Zukowski, Bogusław Albert]
(b Detroit, Jan 17, 1912; d Los Angeles, Feb 16, 1944). American pianist and composer. At an early age he displayed a precocious talent for playing piano in an assertive, confident style influenced by the blues. He worked in Philadelphia as a member of an orchestra led by the pianist Oliver Naylor, recording in 1925 and appearing at the Palace d’Or and the Orient restaurant in the late 1920s and early 1930s; he also spent a period with the Playboys, led by the double bass player Thelma Terry (recording in 1928). After performing with the singer Seymour Simons and at Smokey’s Club in Detroit he came to prominence as a member of Bob Crosby’s band (late 1936 – mid-1939), in which he was Joe Sullivan’s replacement; while with Crosby he gained recognition as a leading exponent of the boogie-woogie style, and in 1939 he was named “best pianist” by ...