Bob Nixon, saxophone player for Truth in Jazz Orchestra, has been performing and teaching music nearly all of his life.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in music education and a Bachelor’s Degree in jazz performance, all from Morehead State University in Kentucky.
For two years, he was the high school band and orchestra director for Cincinnati Public Schools. He then served for 28 years as the band and orchestra director for both middle and high schools at Grand Rapids Public Schools. Additionally, Bob is a member of the adjunct faculty at Aquinas College where he teaches music and has directed the school’s jazz ensemble.
While, as a music educator, Bob has played nearly all band instruments, his real interest lies in woodwinds, particularly saxophone, flute, clarinet, and bassoon.
Over the years Bob has traveled all across the United States with various bands. He has performed with some of the great entertainers of our day including Dionne Warwick, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Robert Goulet, Louie Belson, Red Skelton, Marvin Gay and the Spinners, The Temptations, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra - just a few of the long list in Bob’s performance history.
Presently Bob performs with TIJO and also with Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra (for which he serves as business manager), the Bob Nixon Quartet, Mid-Town Horns & Rhythm and various freelance gigs. He is the current president of the Michigan Association of Jazz Educators.
Commenting on jazz musicianship, Bob says, “I like the freedom of expression that improvisation allows. A concert band piece is expected to sound the same way every time, whereas a jazz piece is always different. Jazz is much more reflective of the performer.”
Since his retirement, Bob is composing and arranging music. Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra performs many of his pieces and he has been commissioned by other musicians to write for their jazz bands. And he continues to be involved in music and music education, teaching clinics and master classes at high schools and serving at a judge at area and state jazz festivals.