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Rodriguez/Cornish/Babko PIANO FEST 2
Rodriguez/Cornish/Babko PIANO FEST 2

Thu, Sep 05


Sam First

Rodriguez/Cornish/Babko PIANO FEST 2

Join us for the first ever Sam First piano festival where we will feature 12 of LA's greatest pianists over the span of 4 very special nights. 8:00 - Robert Rodriguez Trio 9:00 - Paul Cornish duo w/ Jeff Parker (g) 10:00 - Jeff Babko Trio House rhythm section: Dave Robaire (b), Joe LaBarbera (d)

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Sep 05, 2019, 8:00 PM

Sam First, 6171 W Century Blvd Suite 180, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA

Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rospide a.k.a Robert Rodriguez is an American Composer, Musician and Actor. The son of Cuban-Jazz drummer Roberto Rodriguez, Robert was born January 11, 1978 in New York City and grew up in the Magic city of Miami. He began studying music at an early age and by age 12 he was performing classical recitals on piano. By the time he was in highschool he was working and recording professionally in the Miami area and at seventeen he was awarded the honor of being selected to The National Grammy High school band. He then continued his studies of piano, percussion at the New World School of the Arts and later studied music and acting at University of Miami.

Robert began to tour the world at the age of 22 as an instrumentalist with virtuoso trumpeter Arturo Sandoval which culminated in many recordings including the score to HBO’s “For Love or Country” starring Andy Garcia and an album produced by Quincy Jones, Emilio Estefan “Trumpet Evolution”. He then continued to NYC to perform, record compose and or perform for many legends including percussionist Ray Barretto and drummer Roy Haynes, Saxophonist David Sanchez, Joe Locke, Paquito D’Rivera, Christian Mcbride, Richard Bona, Caribbean Jazz Project and many others.

Robert has received commissions and awards from ASCAP, Chamber Music of America and New York Foundation for the Arts and in 2015 He was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album alongside his brother Mike Rodriguez for their album Impromptu, The Rodriguez Brothers. In 2017 he served on the Faculty at Berklee school of Music and worked in directing ensembles and composition classes alongside Terence Blanchard and his program.

Robert’s continued passion for music and acting can be seen in the recent Feature Film “Imprisoned” for which he acted in and also composed, conducted and performed the score. The Film directed and written by Paul Kampf stars Laurence Fishburne, Edward James Almos, Esai Morales, Jon Heard, Juan Pablo Raba, and Juana Acosta. Filmed in Puerto Rico and centering on the themes of love, redemption, revenge and forgiveness, the film gave Rospide a wide range to score and create.

Paul Cornish

Paul Cornish is a pianist and composer from Houston, Texas, who currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Growing up in church and studying classical piano lessons from the age of 5, Paul’s musical upbringing has allowed him to operate in a variety of musical genres and settings. He studied at the world-renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston, Texas which has produced the likes of Helen Sung, Walter Smith III, Eric Harland, and Robert Glasper to name a few. While at HSPVA, Paul was awarded the Moran Scholarship Award from pianist and 2010 MacArthur Fellow, Jason Moran. Paul’s talents have been heard in Norway, Budapest, Canada, United Kingdom, Amsterdam as well numerous music festivals and venues all across the United States such as Carnegie Hall and Blue Note.

Paul achieved a bachelors degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California in 2018. With the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra and Honors Combo, Paul’s stand out performance earned him the Oustanding Soloist award at the 2015 and 2016 Next Generation Jazz Festival. As a composer, he won a gold medal in the NAACP ACT-SO Competition and was selected as a finalist for the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Competition. In 2018, Paul won the grand prize at the American Jazz Pianist Competition and was accepted into the prestigious Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance. Paul hopes to challenge the mind of the people that hear his music and improve the human condition one ear at a time.

Jeff Babko

Pianist/keyboardist Jeff Babko is a native of Southern California, and has remained on the west coast throughout his career. Babko constantly balances many musical and professional hats, as an in-demand recording musician and touring keyboardist.

After graduating from the University of Miami’s distinguished Frost School Of Music, Babko began working with international superstar Julio Iglesias on a series of worldwide tours. He also appeared in Iglesias' "Tango" longform video.

After leaving Iglesias, Babko began regularly touring Asia and Europe super-drummer Simon Phillips. Soon after, he joined guitarist Robben Ford's band, and later extensively toured and recorded with Larry Carlton. With Carlton, Babko performed for the King and royal family of Thailand in Bangkok's royal palace. Listeners can enjoy Babko's recorded work with Ford and Carlton on their joint effort, Live In Tokyo, as well as on some of their individual recordings (see "other people's rekkids" section). Babko also backed Carlton with Japanese B'z guitar superstar Tak Matsumoto on their Grammy award winning recording.

Other tours included Europe with the L.A. supergroup TOTO in 2000 (including the "Live In Sofia" television special), and also with Grammy award winner Shelby Lynne.

Television work began with Martin Short’s syndicated talk show in 1999/2000, and later on the Wayne Brady daytime show. For the past 15+ years, most significantly, Babko has been the musical arranger, a composer, and house band member on ABC TV’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. He’s backed up countless rock, pop and jazz artists on the show, and has produced much of the music for its comedy segments (including co-writing “I’m F**king Ben Affleck”).

Always keeping one foot dipped in comedy territory, Babko has been the touring musical director and accompanist for Martin Short since 2002, and also performs with Mr. Short & Steve Martin, also joined by the Grammy award winning bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers. Babko can be seen on Steve Martin & Martin Short's Emmy nominated and wildly popular Netflix special, released in May 2018.

In 2010, Babko recorded (“100 Miles From Memphis”) and toured with Sheryl Crow. The "100 Miles" band, dubbed "The Thieves", recorded a live set from the Pantages Theatre, which has been a televised mainstay since its release. Another ongoing touring and recording situation has been with James Taylor, and Babko can be heard on Taylor’s “Covers” record, including its single, “It’s Growing”. Babko joined Taylor on the 2017 stadium tour with Bonnie Raitt, performing at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, among other legendary ballparks.

Other recent recording highlights include Jason Mraz’ “Love Is A Four Letter Word” and Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”, Nathan East's 2 solo albums, as well as Smokey Robinson’s “Smokey & Friends” record of duets, produced by Randy Jackson for Verve Records. You also have heard Babko on recordings from Alanis Morrisette, Maná, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, and others.

In addition to recording albums, Babko’s contributions to many film scores have included The 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Jack Reacher 2.

Babko has five solo albums out under his own name, including 2012’s critically acclaimed “Crux” for Tonequake Records, featuring Mark Isham, Tim Lefebvre and Matt Chamberlain, and his most recent vinyl release, “El Musico” (2019). His 2007 release “Mondo Trio” w/ Jeff Coffin and Vinnie Colaiuta is considered a classic "drum fusion" record. The collective supergroup "Band Of Other Brothers" with Will Lee, Dave Matthews Band's Jeff Coffin, Nir Felder and Steely Dan's Keith Carlock was a critical favorite and the band headlined the Iridium in NYC in 2017.

If you listen to public radio, you may have heard Jeff as a regular band member on LIVE FROM HERE, with host, mandolin superhuman Chris Thile, throughout the 2018/19 season.

Babko also keeps busy running and recording in his own studio, TudorTones, where he also records and collaborates with his wife, studio violinist Songa Lee. Also, Jeff hosted a podcast from TudorTones featuring fellow keyboard players called "The Caffeinated Keyboardist” ( and co-hosts a popular internet video show about the music business called “Sage And Sound Advice” with drummer Victor Indrizzo.


  • Presale Ticket

    Please limit tickets purchased to 6 per show. If you'd like to bring a larger group, email

    Sale ended
  • Student/LA Jazz Society member

    Must present a valid student ID or LA Jazz Society membership card upon arrival. Please limit tickets purchased to 6 per show. If you'd like to bring a larger group, email

    Sale ended



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