Bob Sundstrom continues to have a vibrant connection with the Warwick Public Library which came alive Sunday before an audience of more than 150 who squeezed between book shelves, toes tapping, to …
Bob Sundstrom continues to have a vibrant connection with the Warwick Public Library which came alive Sunday before an audience of more than 150 who squeezed between book shelves, toes tapping, to hear the Banjo Bob All-Stars Dixieland Band.
“This is it. The only time you’ll hear this group together,” said Wil Gregersen, Community Services Librarian as the band played its final selection of the afternoon. The connection between Sundstrom dates to 2012 when he brought his group, This Side of Dixie, to play at the library. Gregersen arranged the concert and as he told the audience Sunday it was “a fabulous show.”
Unfortunately, not too long afterward, Sundstrom died. Following his death Justin Meyer, who plays bass, formed the Banjo Bob All-Stars Dixieland Band to honor Bob. The group with the exception of a pandemic hiatus has returned annually to play in his memory.
Bob and his wife Anna, who lived in Coventry, were the parents of five sons. Bob graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago and worked as an artist and Dixieland jazz musician. He was a member of various bands – including the Original Salty Dogs – and mostly played in the Boston area. His music welcomed fans into Celtics games and brought smiles to people commuting on the Boston subway system, according to his obituary.
Members of the Banjo Bob All-Stars Dixieland Band have impressive resumes having played with New England’s top Dixieland bands including The Wolverine Jazz Band, The Paramount Jazz Band, The Brahmin Bellhops and the New Black Eagle Jazz Band. Members of the group have also played for Hollywood film soundtracks and in concert with Tony Bennett, Cab Calloway, Rosemary Clooney, the Four Freshmen, Dizzy Gillespie, Norah Jones and Lou Rawls, Gregersen told the audience.
As Gregersen delightedly related, Sunday’s performance could be heard throughout the library, “even the Children’s Library.” A glance around the library found a few diehards staring at computer screens with their head cupped in their hands. Others had put aside books or like security officer Tom Nye simply wearing smiles.
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