Chicago’s Robert Lamm Shares His Fave Pianists and Organists

Robert Lamm (Photo courtesy of Robert Lamm)

A founding member of Chicago, keyboardist Robert Lamm got his start performing in a men’s and boys’ choir at Grace Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Heights. The New York City native eventually moved with his family to the city that would also be the name of his future group, shortly after starting to attend Brooklyn Tech. It was during his time performing with the choir that the presence of a practice piano led to Lamm’s introduction to the “’88s.”

“Before and after the actual rehearsal, there were other boys that did play piano, so we would sort of take turns and sit down at the piano until the choir master chased us out. I had never taken any piano lessons at all, so I just sort of sat down and mimicked ‘Heart and Soul’ and that kind of thing,” he recalled. “I played by ear for a very long time. I just sort of taught myself and I was later told by the parents of some of the other kids that did play that I had a nice touch. I don’t know what that meant at the time, but I did feel very comfortable playing the piano.”

Lamm recently shared some of his favorite ivory ticklers with Long Island Weekly.

Bill Evans at Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland in 1978. (Photo by Brian McMillen)

Bill Evans (August 16, 1929 to September 15, 1980)

“He had very unique comping and a very individual approach to interpreting melody. He was always in the pocket rhythmically. He’s on a lot of records where he was not the leader, but you could tell he was in that band. For me, he was very distinctive and even at my young age, I had one of the Trio albums—maybe the second one with Gary Peacock. I didn’t have a clue as to how to play jazz. Those albums hypnotized me.”

Jimmy Smith (Photo by Hammondite)

Jimmy Smith (December 8, 1925 to February 8, 2005)

“I love Jimmy Smith. I have all his albums like everybody else. He played the organ the way a horn player plays his horn, so that’s what the draw was. And he had that very individual sound that all of us copied.”

Joey DeFrancesco (Photo by Gloria DeFrancesco)

Joey DeFrancesco (April 10, 1971 to present)

“He just gets better as he ages and he sings too.”

Cory Henry (Photo by Tore Saetre)

Cory Henry (February 27, 1987 to present)

“He’s young and has loads of potential. Interesting to see where he goes.”

Bill Charlap (October 15, 1966 to present)

“Bill has great feel, great repertoire and amazing technique.”

Aaron Diehl

Aaron Diehl (September 22, 1985)

“Aaron has a great combination of groove, energy and technique.”

Chicago will be appearing on June 17 and 18 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. For more information, visit or call 877-598-8497.

Read LIW’s full interview with Robert Lamm: Chicago’s Long and Winding Road

Chicago’s Long And Winding Road

Dave Gil de Rubio
In addition to being editor of Massapequa Observer and Hicksville News, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).


  1. Nice article, very informative although i would like to have heard what Cetera said to Lamm, spoiled little brat, his solo career was mediocre at best, lucky for him “glory of love” had Cher performing a duet with him. He should be thankful for the chance to become a superstar, but to not show up to the hall of fame ceremony just proves he is a selfish, egotistical, narcissist. (maybe not so much the latter)

Leave a Reply




Oyster Bay Plans August 3 Fireworks

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the Town Board invite residents to celebrate our nation at “Celebrate America,” the town’s upcoming free Grucci...

Calendar of Events July 28 to August 14

Here is a select list of events happening in the Long Island Weekly coverage area. Wednesday, July 28 What the Ambassador Saw Dr. Thorin Tritter, the museum...

How To Achieve The Perfect At-Home Tan

Is there something keeping you from achieving the tan you want this summer? Perhaps it’s the pesky rainy weather, or too much time in...

Another Side of Laura Schaefer

The Nassau County Legislator will show off her singing chops with accompanist Bill Blais at Cassariano Italian Eatery, 348 East Jericho Turnpike, Mineola. Call...

Celebrating Home Health Aides Job Fair Set July 26

Visiting Nurse Service of New York Partners in Care is hosting an open house hiring event on Monday, July 26 from 9 a.m. to...

Get Updates Via Email

Enter your email to be updated with all the latest news and special announcements.