Courtesy of Bobby Lyle

Courtesy of Bobby Lyle

Bobby Lyle’s 75th birthday weekend!

Songwriter, band leader, music director, sideman, producer, arranger, and performer, Lyle has recorded and toured with such greats as Red Holt and Eldee Young, Ronnie Laws, Wayne Henderson, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler, to name a few. 

He also toured with Sly and The Family Stone and was putting together a jazz-rock band (with fellow Minnesotans Willie Weeks and Bill Lordan) with Jimi Hendrix, the year he passed away.  He recorded an extensive discography with the two greatest labels of all time -- Capital Records and Atlantic Records. He has an Emmy nomination for his music direction of Bette Midler’s HBO special “Diva Las Vegas” in 1997.

Lyle revels in a high-speed, rapid-fire technique that sacrifices neither the magnitude nor the character of his music.
— LA Times


Bobby Lyle Solo on The Steinway - MAR 8

Jazz traveler Bobby Lyle explores a vast firmament of styles in influences on the Dunsmore Room’s 9-foot Steinway concert grand in this one-of-a-kind solo concert.

Bobby Lyle organ trio - MAR 9

Preeminent master of the Hammond B3 organ, Bobby Lyle, who learned at the knee so to speak of B3 pioneer Jimmy Smith, brings his Bobby Lyle Organ Trio to full sound and effect on Crooners MainStage.

Bobby Lyle on BET Jazz Central - 1993

A legendary keyboardist and organist, platinum selling artist, and Emmy-nominee; Bobby Lyle has blazed a trail in the world of jazz. Lyle grew up in Minneapolis and at age six took piano lessons from his mother, who was a church organist. He considers Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Erroll Garner, and Art Tatum to have been his early influences. After high school he spent six years playing locally in Minneapolis and then toured for two years with Young-Holt Unlimited. In 1970 Bobby was invited to be a member of Jimi Hendrix’s “next” band, a jazz-rock project that was halted due to Hendrix’s death that same year.

In 1976 Lyle moved to Los Angeles where he quickly got a job with Sly & the Family Stone. After playing with Ronnie Laws, he recorded three solo albums with Capitol. Lyle made guest appearances on recordings by George Benson, Phyllis Hyman, and Esther Phillips and in the early '80s toured with Benson extensively and became Bette Midler's musical director. After two years with Al Jarreau, Lyle recorded a straight-ahead combo date for King (which was reissued as an Evidence CD), conducted for Anita Baker in 1986, and worked with Gerald Albright. 

In 1988 he began a long association with Atlantic that resulted in the release of six albums between 1989 and 1997, with Pianomagic, a 1991 album of piano solos. Bobby Lyle has remained a highly versatile and valuable keyboardist as both leader and sideman during the new millennium, releasing such albums as 2002's Joyful, 2004's Straight and Smooth, and 2006's Hands On on independent labels.


Ranked Best Jazz Club in 2018 by City Pages, Crooners is proud to feature a widely eclectic range of styles, backgrounds and generations. With its definitive listening policy that asks audience members to give their full attention to the shows on stage, and its emphasis on relaxed civility, the newly refurbished Crooners is a music-focused supper club with two distinct music venues – the Crooners MainStage and the Dunsmore Jazz Room. Music charges vary from $15 to $45. Crooners is located at 6161 Highway 65 NE, Minneapolis, MN. For information or to purchase tickets in advance call 763-760-0062, or visit