Bob Montgomery is one of at least three jazz musicians with the same name. The first was his father “Big Bob,” who played the “bull fiddle” in jazz
combos for years around Bob’s hometown of Junction City, Kansas, and really wanted his son to play jazz piano. Bob played his first jazz gig with his dad at the age of 14. Then there’s that trumpeter from Denver who is so well-known around Colorado that Bob’s jazz friends have to say “no, the other one from Fort Collins who plays piano.”
Bob came to Colorado in 1977 to work for Hewlett-Packard doing R&D on computers and operating systems. He is retired from HP now, and spends most of his time juggling the seven or eight bands. Besides playing piano with the whiskey chickens, he plays piano, accordion, bass, and middle-eastern drums in a number of other prominent Northern Colorado groups.
His earliest jazz influences were Ramsey Lewis in his piano trio and Jimmy Smith on the Hammond organ. Then came Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and some Floyd Cramer, because it was never just jazz in Bob’s past. At the same time he started playing with his dad and the old jazz cats, he was doing his best to sound like the organ players for Steppenwolf, Santana, and the James Gang with his school buddies in a string of garage rock and roll bands.