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.

Bob can be heard Monday through Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 pm, and on Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm.

Music recently heard on Bob's show:

Pages

Latest from ICON Magazine
2:54 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

The Demons of Bud Powell

In that bygone era when radio was king, the drama known as The Shadow was one of the best. The dulcet voice of the announcer preceded each program with the question, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” He then finished off the quiz with a sardonic laugh, and the clincher, “The Shadow knows.”

Read more
Latest From ICON Magazine
8:12 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

David “Fathead” Newman: From Ray Charles Protégé to Band Leader

David "Fathead" Newman

David Newman is a fairly average name. But insert the nickname “Fathead,” and there you have a memorable handle—especially when the person is an entertainer. An odd name is one way to get attention. Musician David Newman must have caught on to this early in his career as a professional musician, and advanced by keeping the derogatory but attention-catching name of David “Fathead” Newman.

Read more
Jazz Organ in Philly
10:38 am
Thu February 26, 2015

They Made Philly The Jazz Organ Capital

Jimmy Smith at the Hammond B-3

Don't be mistaken: Philadelphia is complimented far and wide. The City of Brotherly Love is our well-known handle, and our fine-eating places are the talk of other towns. Also peculiar to the area are those gastronomic delights known as hoagies, soft pretzels, and cheese steaks. We've got Billy Penn; we've got the Liberty Bell.

Read more
Latest From ICON Magazine
3:21 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Art Blakey Was Behind It All

Drummer and bandleader Art Blakey

Art Blakey was to the small band what Duke Ellington was to the big band, meaning that over the years Blakey’s small groups—like Ellington’s big bands—produced a great number of jazz artists, many of whom became jazz legends.

Read more
Jazz on Film: Ritz at the Bourse
12:17 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

BP Suggests: Keep On Keepin' On, A Film about Swing and Bebop Trumpeter Clark Terry

The award-winning independent film about the amazing swing and bebop trumpeter Clark Terry is showing at The Ritz at the Bourse starting on November 21, 2014 for a short run.

Was it fate or a divine hand that brought together a young drummer from Australia, an even younger visually impaired pianist, and a legendary jazz artist?  

Read more
Latest From ICON Magazine
12:11 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

BP's Jazz Library: Singer Carmen McRae

Carmen McRae (1920-1994)

Very often with famous entertainers, only the first name is sufficient for identification. This happens particularly in the genres of jazz and standard/popular music. When a hip person wants to say something about a well-known artist, they may refer to that artist as Sarah, Billie, Ella, or Carmen. The latter of course is a reference to Carmen McRae, dubbed by jazz critics, writers and fans, "The Singer’s Singer."  

Read more
BP Remembers Satchmo
12:27 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Louis Armstrong: The Quintessential Man with the Horn

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; Armstrong's contributions to the advancement of jazz as an art form are inestimable. All this, accomplished by a man who was born into abject poverty at Liberty and Perdido streets in New Orleans' Third Ward - better known as "Storyville."

Read more
WRTI Spotlight
2:18 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Jazz Pianist and Hard Bop Composer Horace Silver Dies at 85

One of my favorite Horace Silver albums

When I first heard Horace Silver play piano, I said to myself, "this fellow must have been groomed in the African America church." Not quite...but somewhat close: his mother was of Irish-African descent, and did sing in church; and his father was of Afro-Portuguese heritage.

One could detect in his unique, straight-ahead jazz style, gospel, blues, soul and funk - well before the latter adjective found its way into the music lexicon. 

Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers: Doodlin'

Read more
WRTI Spotlight
1:22 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

BP Remembers Jazz Vocalist Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott

The music world - and the world at large - lost a very fine singer of standard popular songs last week when Jimmy Scott died on June 12th at age 88.

It’s surprising that the name Jimmy Scott was unknown to a good number of folks. But to those familiar with his work and his way with a song, he was a legend...and some of those who favored his work, were and are, legends in their own right: Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles, and Billie Holiday, to name a few, sang his praises. The standard pop and jazz cognoscente, knew Jimmy Scott!

Read more
From ICON Magazine
3:11 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Bob Perkins Tells The Story of Herb Jeffries, "The Bronze Buckaroo"

Jazz singer and actor Herb Jeffries (1913-2014)

BP wrote this article in 2011 for ICON Magazine, and wanted to share it again now in memory of Mr. Jeffries, who passed away on May 25, 2014 at age 100.

If you have high mileage on your odometer, and over the years have been in tune with standard popular music and jazz, you may have heard the name Herb Jeffries, and perhaps even know something about the singer/actor. He sang with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the early 1940s, and scored a hit with his rendition of “Flamingo.”

Read more

Pages