|Decades:||1950s 1980s 2000s|
Robert Allen Zurke, 17 January 1912, Detroit, Michigan, USA, d. 17 February 1944, Los Angeles, California, USA. Learning piano as a child, Zurke displayed a remarkable talent and by his teenage years was playing semi-professionally. He worked regularly in and around Philadelphia in the late 20s and 30s, playing in numerous small bands and also as a single. In 1937 he joined the Bob Crosby band, achieving great success that was due in part to his ability to play convincingly sophisticated boogie-woogie during the brief craze for that style. The bands recording of Honky Tonk Train Blues, a feature for Zurke, was a hit. He left Crosby in 1939 to form his own band but this proved unsuccessful and he returned to solo work, playing clubs in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Although noted particularly for his boogie-woogie playing, Zurke had a much wider range and was an important, if erratic, factor in the Crosby bands success.