Bourgeoisie Blues

Bob Wilder paid his dues, now all he wants is to play the blues

The association would last most of the decade, until differences in musical direction found the two parting ways in 1997. Wilder then jumpstarted a new band, The Jumpstreet 88s, with vocalist/saxophonist/harmonica player Stan Street. Street's move to Mississippi last year prompted the formation of Piano Bob's 88s and brought Wilder some East Coast gigs as part of the Tony O Band, a New York-based outfit with whom he had previously shared the stage at Miami's perennial blues bastion, Tobacco Road. Meanwhile he recorded three albums — 1993's Piano Bob & The Snowman, 1998's The Jumpstreet 88s, and Piano Bob's 88s, due sometime this winter.

These days he plays most nights of the week via a rotating series of gigs — Mondays at Churchill's in Little Haiti, Wednesdays at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, Thursdays and Sundays with guitarist Eric "Slim Bogey" Bogart at Le Deux Fontaines on South Beach. That's in addition to the one-off dates with his band, Piano Bob's 88s, which includes drummer Lou Abbott, guitarist Dave Brophy, and occasional sax player Al Ferreira.

Though some performers consider their own music a pastime, a profession, or both, Wilder sees himself more as a man on a mission. "I feel that I'm fighting for a cause," he insists. "The blues is one of the most honest forms of expression. It's not the flavor of the month. To me, music is a universal language; it connects on the most basic level. It's this unadorned reality that has nothing to do with what you have but rather who you are."

Piano Bob cuddles into a groove
Jacqueline Carini
Piano Bob cuddles into a groove


Friday, December 9, at 9:30 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 305-774-1883, or visit
Fritz & Franz Bierhaus, 60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables

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