Rob Ryndak
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Rob Ryndak

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By: Jonathan Widran

On his fourth release as a leader, Chicago-based pianist Rob Ryndak continues to explore an exciting mix of pop, soul, Brazilian, and other world influences in an ongoing celebration of life and rebirth in the years after he lost his first wife, Barbara, to breast cancer. The first three tracks perfectly summarize the great diversity and wide range of dynamics at work here. Led by Joe Saia's trumpet, Ryndak's cabasa, and Greg Fishman's sensuous tenor sax, the title track is a cool, laid-back, and jazzy bossa-lite jaunt. The exotic rhythms get deeper on the densely percussive, minor chord-driven "Lea's Joy," a hypnotic piece patterned on Ghana's akom music and highlighted by Ryndak's steady piano lines and Saia's bright flügelhorn solo. "Jadey" is the name of Ryndak's second wife, and it's clear from the shuffling funk and vibrant bass groove, Saia's trumpet, Steve Wunder's punchy sax, and Carter Luke's simmering Hammond B-3 that the marriage isn't perfect but it's still a source of great joy and excitement. The fun part of Ryndak's music is that it's hard to categorize from track to track -- there are the cha-cha rhythms of "The Gift of Courage," the dark strutting jazz-blues of "Blues for Emily," and the tasty Latin pop feelings of "Clare's Arrival," driven by Fishman's beautiful flute melody. Ryndak holds everything together with dynamic piano voicings that are sometimes restrained and supportive behind other instruments, and sometimes right out front. Through all the ups and downs in his life and career, it's clear that he knows the value of ensembles and letting his fellow musicians shine. That unselfish approach is A Reason to Smile as well. of Rob Ryndak. .” - All Music Guide

"Hot New Lounge Sounds From Composer Rob Ryndak"

If you're into playing chill, lounge or sunrise Ibiza style beats, check out the latest album "A Reason to Smile" (Pacific Coast Jazz) from Chicago-based composer Rob Ryndak. Already receiving strong reviews in the press, the 10 tracks feature a slick mix of soul, funk, jazz and latin themes. The production is strong with a mix that weaves in various sounds to produce an airy feel. It's definitely not the tired 4/4 to-the-floor arrangement that you might hear on a less-polished mix. Sounds ebb and flow around the hook with enthusiasm, and musically Ryndak knows how to capture your attention. Best of all, the band uses real instruments, rather than digitally-constructed sounds that often times can be so predictable and stuffy.
His web site features several album sound clips, along with more details about the upcoming record release party on Sept. 29. (
The title track "A Reason to Smile" is a Brazilian style funk meets a slow-dance rythym. The intro splashes a mellow beat of congas and timbales that reminds me of Sade. Then comes an infectious hook with horns and sax that light up the beat to a strumming latin-style guitar.
"Jadey" delivers an infectious blend of bounce and mellow soul that is perfect for a late dance floor nite-revival. Layers of piano and horns weave around a joyful funky beat.
"Larimar" has an exuberent tone enveloped around a lush late-nite beat and a mellow airy trumpet that is cheery and bright. The added sounds of the conga and other percussive elements deliver a nice touch. A perfect chill track to bring in the start of a new day, or wrap up a long-nite session.
- Maarten Patrik Web Blog

"Boundless Review"

Jack Bowers - “All compositions and arrangements are Ryndak's and he uses his reliable tendency to create appealing melodies ('Ojos Cafes Hermosos' and 'Boundless,' for example, are about as engaging as they come) as a framework on which to position his wide-ranging rhythmic canvas." - All about

"Stay With It Review"

John Barrett – “ One word would describe this - "active". Rob Ryndak composes with short threads, all tightly connected; many instruments join in, swelling and fading in the mix. "Bell Rock" is a taste of early fusion: pulsing guitars, a dash of percussion, a murmuring muted trumpet (Amir Elsaffar), and Ryndak at the funky keyboard. Steve Cole has a good solo: lyrical, yet more aggressive than your typical soprano. "Soft Spoken" isn't: Bobby Lewis charges, with a strong descending fanfare. Now Cole is on tenor; he sneers on the low notes, then leaps with a gritty swagger. . . .” - JazzUSA

"Boundless Review"

Michael Finnegan - " I absolutely loved 'Bouncing Back,' 'Dance In The Park,' 'Boundless,' 'Jade' (named for Ryndak's wife Jadey) and 'Sable.' The mix and arrangement of these twelve instrumentals is perfect, and as a jazz lover, I highly recommend it." - In the Mix, Chicago's Music & Entertainment Magazine

"Review of Stay With It"

Lee Posser- “Rob Ryndak is one of the finest contemporary jazz pianists performing, and his new CD release from Southport titled STAY WITH IT will find a wide listening audience among jazz fans. Ryndak is both stylish and innovative in this collection of 10 selections. He is joined by many guest artists, but the spotlight is on the talent of Rob Ryndak. .” - Jazz Review


A Reason To Smile Released on the Pacific Coast Jazz Label 2007

Stay With It Released on the Southport Label 2001

Boundless Released on the Soutport Label 1998

Moving Forward Released on the Soutport Label 1996

All recordings received national and international airplay.

Samples can be heard on MySpace:



Jazz composer, performer and teacher, Rob Ryndak has a passion for music. In his compositions he combines pop, jazz and Latin rhythms to create melodic accessible tunes. While Rob is a pianist, he draws from his percussion roots and infuses a strong baseline of rhythms within his composition and still likes to get out from behind his piano to play congas. His inspiration comes from Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Poncho Sanchez, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Miriam Makeba, Bob Marley, Joe Sample, Horace Silver as well as genres ranging from classical to R&B and rock.

He used this mix of genres to create four recordings of original music. These albums include a variety of musical styles and have simplicity and lyrical melodies that are accessible to audiences. He includes strong percussion and turns to flute, trumpet and sax regularly. His goal is to create music that leads to heart felt improvisation and forces the musicians to rely on their gut instinct more than habits.

In 1996 he was signed with Southport, an independent Chicago jazz label where he released his first three CDs.

Rob feels that every recording has something unique and special about it. His first album, Moving Forward has raw energy. He continues to draw on these tunes in performances because of their innocence and fun.

Rob’s second album, Boundless (released in 2000) owed a great deal to working with a tight band. They worked closely together playing out regularly together and the CD grew from this connection. They added an international touch to the recording with the addition of trombonist, Vince Benedetti.

Stay With It, Rob’s third album with the Southport Label included high profile musicians including Steve Cole on sax and Richard Patterson on bass. Rob veered clearly into Smooth Jazz territory on a number of the tunes and worked with an arranger (Gary Norian) for the first time for this CD.

In 2005, Rob signed with the Pacific Coast Jazz label. The release, A Reason to Smile debuted in September of 2006. He pulled from his percussion roots and included Latin and African rhythms. The Album received great critical reviews. Reviews on All About Jazz said the tunes on this CD were “. . . . light and upbeat, the songs have an uncluttered feel to them, and there is enough variety between each composition to keep the interest of any listener for numerous helpings.”.

Rob has recorded and played with a long list of Chicago greats including, Steve Cole, Ruben Alvarez, Carlos Cornier, Paulinho Garcia, Greg Fishman, Larry Gray, Bobby Lewis, Richard Patterson and Paul Wertico.

Robs music is autobiographical. He incorporates a great deal of what is going on in his head and heart in the music. Some of his inspiration was found in places including Sedona Arizona where he wrote “Creek Haven Blues” and “Bell Rock”. His travels to Costa Rica is the source for “Ojos Café Hermosos”. He also draws from relationships. The tunes “Clare’s Arrival” and “Lea’s Joy” are dedicated to his daughters and “Jade” and “Jadey” are named for his wife.

Rob started his career in music in high school were he played drums in a rock band. From there he studied seriously in college culminating with a Masters in Music from Northwestern University. He has learned from a host of talented teachers including Mike Mc Clead, Hal Russell, Jake Jeiger, Alan Swain, Kent Wehman, Bob Bullard and Don Owens. They have influenced his compositions, performing and his teaching.

Rob’s ensemble has regularly performed at such festivals throughout the Midwest such as Munster Indiana Jazz & Blues Festival, Nebraska’s Joslyn Museum’s Jazz on the Green, Chicago’s Music on Michigan Ave. Series and Milwaukee’s Jazz in the Park Series. Rob was featured as opening act for Steve Cole at Milwaukee’s Third Ward Jazz Festival.

In addition to composing and performing, Rob has taught music both privately and at a college level. Rob is currently located in the Chicago area with his wife and daughters.