International Pianist
  • Singer
  • Entertainer
  • Writer
  • Composer
  • Lecturer

Robert D. Brusen

Awards

2013 - November, 8th - "You bring charm to China" Award at Water Cube - Beijing
2012 - "Top Magazine" Award for coaching/teaching blind Chinese girl pianist , Niko
2012 - "Top Magazine" Cultural Humanitarian Award
2011 - China Art Agency - Best Jazz Artist Award
2011 - China Art - Best Pop Opera Artist Award
2010 - Beijing Government - Humanitarian Award
2009 - Guangzhou Artist Award
2004 - Mongolian Award for Artistic Education in Mongolia
1999 - Russia Awards for concerts across Siberia

Cheer

"Through all the lying days of my youth, I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun. Now I may wither into the truth", so mused Yeats, struggling with the approach of middle age. Bob Bellows has come farther, even though his astonishing and unceasing freshness belie his age, and listening to him on Thursday evening at the Khan Bank Theater I wondered if a performer with no longer a compulsion to prove himself sings for the appreciation of the audience or for his own pleasure.

My guess is that Bob so enjoys his own cheerfulness that he can afford to do the latter. That is why all the songs he chose were old, popular before most of his audience was possibly born, and I am happy that he did. (Full disclosure: I am closer to Bob in calendar years than to the vast majority of those in the hall.)

So he sang about things that happened once upon a time, it was long ago, and the most important thing that happened was usually that someone was in love, the silent marvel that brings out the joyful exuberance of feeling "Lucky me; canít you see Iím in love?" In these days of priapic lyrics, one can only imagine the time when holding hands gave an electric thrill, and be grateful that "find it so amusing, I did it my own way".

That is what an evening with Bob Bellows always does. It confirms the given that we are all inventors, if we let ourselves be; we can all invent something joyful and new every morning, our new word and new world.

This is no denial of reality. After all, jazz was how a people who had suffered, been marginalized and oppressed, expressed in music a spirit that was smothered but not dead. So when Bob sings that the most gratifying feeling is to know that you love and are loved, he is subtly acknowledging that melancholy and joy are not distant opposites, but inseparable partners. It is only the person who can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine, whose soul can taste the true power of sadness, and vice versa.

The evening was billed as an encore for Bob. There should be a few more in the years to come and we all could do with some more love and cheer. Even the harsh Ulaanbaatar winters are invariably followed by the normal sights and sounds of early spring, when Birds build their nests in the open air Love conquering their fear.
Relieved that last year's misconceived announcement that it was to be Bob's last program in Mongolia was a vastly exaggerated account of this incomparable entertainer's demise as a performer, we look forward to his return to what he once called "my adopted country".

There were two other attractions. Eliane Amherd has a tone with a complex palette, and establishes mood easily and confidently. She has a vibrant presence and those who go to her own concert on Saturday at River Sound will have more of a magical journey following the strums on her guitar. I cannot even guess what she has up her sleeve in the way of voicing, touch and use of space but that it will be enchanting is assured.

The Ganbat-Deborah duet made me wonder why we do not get to hear them oftener. Maybe the exigencies of commerce stand in the way of an evening of their own, but that logic only makes one wistful.

U.S. Ambassador Mark C. Minton introduced Bob before the start of the program and all money made that evening will go to the Giant Steppes of Jazz Society.