“I love Robi’s super sensitive playing. It was a special experience to have him accompany my singing.” – Al Jarreau
Hungarian born Romani/ Musician Robi Botos was raised in a musical family and is largely self-taught. Robi began his musical career when he was a child, growing up in Budapest, playing drums and percussion. It was at age seven when Robi first took up piano. Robi immigrated to Canada in 1998 and is now a permanent resident of the country he calls home with his wife and children.
Shortly after coming to Canada, Robi caught the ear of Canadian Jazz great Oscar Peterson and quickly became his protégé. To this day, Robi remains a disciple of Dr. Peterson’s mighty sense of swing and technical virtuosity. Along with this influence, Robi possesses a deep tradition in Romani, Hungarian and European Folk and Classical music. This fusion of North American Bebop, Hard Bop, and Modern Jazz along with the deep tradition of Folk music in Eastern Europe and Romantic Classical music, has formulated a sound and approach that is formidable and unsurpassed. Many of Jazz’s greatest musicians consider Robi to be one of the few young leaders on the piano worldwide. Musicians from Branford Marsalis to Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, and many more consider Robi to be one of the greats on the instrument.
Robi’s dynamic live performances have earned him international recognition – winning numerous competitions around the world including first prizes at the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in 2004, third Prize at the Martial Solal Piano Competition in Paris in 2006, and first prize at the Great American Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida in 2008. Robi has been nominated for two Juno Awards and won as a part of Mike Downes’ Trio in 2014. At the National Jazz Awards in 2007 Robi was chosen as Keyboardist of the Year, and in 2007 Robi was awarded Best Jazz Artist . Magazine. Robi’s debut album for A440 Entertainment/Universal Music Canada, ‘Place to Place’, was one of the most anticipated Canadian jazz albums of 2011. In 2012, Robi and his trio, with bassist Mike Downes and drummer Morgan Childs, won the coveted TD Grand Jazz Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival. This award led to a main stage outdoor concert presentation in front of over 5,000 people, and a subsequent invitation to headline their own outdoor concert in 2013.
In June of 2012, Robi was invited by the Edmonton Jazz Festival to open for the legendary Wayne Shorter Quartet. Canada Council helped support this important concert, which led to a friendship with both Wayne Shorter and his pianist Danilo Perez.
In early March of 2013, Robi was involved in a special commemorative concert to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the legendary Oscar Peterson album, ‘Night Train’. This concert occurred in Oscar’s hometown of Montreal and featured Robi leading the trio with former Oscar Peterson band mates, Order of Canada recipient Dave Young on bass and Alvin Queen on drums. This trio (with Order of Canada recipient Terry Clarke on drums) embarked on a second tour in November 2013, playing in Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver.