Bob Meier – Trombonist, Arranger - Performer
BMHOF Class of 2014
Bob Meier is no stranger to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. This year marks at least his third induction into the Hall (depending on how you count the various groups he’s been involved in), but the first as an individual artist. He was also a member of United Sound and is listed with the Hernandez Brothers.
One of the region’s ultimate sidemen, he has spent his career working with a host of the Buffalo area’s best musicians.
Meier started his music career at age 10 when he started taking piano lessons. He started with the trombone when he was a sophomore in high school and also picked up trumpet along the way. Meier quickly became immersed in band activities. He became the band president at South Park High School and even held band practices in his driveway over the summer. Meier was one of only two people who graduated from his high school with a music degree.
After leaving South Park High School, Meier attended Villa Maria College the first year it were open to males and studied music education. He later attended Buffalo State College to study music performance.
Meier spent eight to nine years playing on the road in places like Puerto Rico and Los Angeles before returning to Buffalo. During the 1970s he backed up the Four Tops, Solid State, and an Elvis impersonator in Nashville. He also played with Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps (Big Wheelie is another Buffalo Music Hall of Famer), and most of his career has been spent right here in Buffalo. Once he returned to the city, he found a day job and started performing on the side. He has played with a lot of traveling acts who have passed through Western New York, plus local bands.
Looking back on his career, Meier recalls this impressive list of bands he has played with: United Sound (early ‘70s), Stone Bridge (one of his first rock bands, early ‘70s), Lance Diamond (first in the late ‘70s and then again in the mid ‘90s), Bob Meier and the Kings of Swing (a group he put together for a Fourth of July show at the Sheraton, early ‘80s), Quarter Horse Rubber Band (mid ‘80s), Isaac (late ‘80s), Eddie Olinski and his Orchestra (off and on through the ‘80s and early ‘90s), Junction West (late ‘90s through 2010), Switch (a Beatles cover band) and more.
Meier has played with Professor Louie & the Crowmatix and has performed with fellow 2014 inductee Joe Parisi in the horn section for the R&B Revue, in Urban Renewal and more (including Buffalo’s All High Band when they were younger).
Meier’s career with the Hitmen Horns started in 1991. It was his time playing with Barbara St. Clair that propelled the start of Meier’s successful project. The popular horn section has backed a number of bands and is still going strong. They now play with Joyryde, backing them for approximately 50 gigs a year, according to Meier. Meier said the group is made up of great players who work much like a pro sport team.
“If you have too many prima donnas and individualists, it doesn’t work,” said Meier. Luckily the Hitmen Horns have been able to put together a perfectly balanced group of talented musicians. Meier, who writes all the charts for the Hitmen Horns, estimates he has arranged over 2,000 horn charts. To write all those charts, Meier said he needs “quiet and concentration” like a man deep in meditation.
Over the years Meier has appeared on a number of 45s and albums, including “45” by Fantasy (1970), “Live at the 3 Coins” as a member of United Sound (1973), “One More Time” by Eddie O (1995), “Rhythm and Blues Soul Review 1 & 2” by various artists (1997) and more. To date Meier has not recorded any solo albums.
Meier has received a number of awards over the years for music excellence. In 1975 he received Host Magazine’s Top Trombone Player award. He has also been awarded nine Buffalo Music Awards: Top R&B Supporting Brass (2001 & 2002), Top Brass Section (2003), Top R&B Supporting Brass Player (2006), Top R&B Horn Section (2004), Top Horn Section (2007 & 2008), Best Horn Section (2010) and even the People’s Choice Award (2003).
Within his busy career, Meier has also found the time to participate in a number of charity events on both a local and national scale. He co-wrote the horn arrangement with Al Monti for “Stand America,” benefiting the Red Cross after 9/11. There were 40-50 musicians involved with that event. He also participated in telethons for Buffalo’s Children’s Hospital during the early 2000s with Lance Diamond. He has played a number of benefits ,including ones for the research of childhood cancer, the Food Bank of Western New York and for Roswell Park.
Having grown up in South Buffalo, Meier found it natural to stay in the Western New York area to continue his professional career. Meier said he stayed because he has family, friends, music connections and a following in Buffalo and because it “felt right.” He also added that his “roots are here” and it is “always good to come home.”
Back to 2014