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Bobby Enriquez, The wild man from Mindanao was from Bacolod

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

He was called " the wild man from Mindanao," but he was born in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

He was called "The Wildman," Bobby Enriquez earned the title through his out of one's mind piano playing. A virtuoso who was largely self-taught from the age of four and became one of the best in the world.

Bobby Enriquez was born in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. He was just a regular kid in town until he saw and touched a piano for the first time and found his first love. Like any parents in that town, all they want is a better future for their children through education, and his mother wanted him to focus on school. Like everybody says, "You never forget your first love." He would sneak out of his second-floor bedroom window to play gigs at night. He became a professional musician at age 13. No secrets remain hidden forever. He was banned from playing piano and forced to concentrate on school when his mother learned of his secret escapades.

Music runs deep in Bobby, and he left home age of 13 to pursue his music career. He went to Manila to become a professional musician. In Manila, he joined jazz groups, including the jazz group of Ed Malata. He joined a band touring U.S. military bases in Asia, including Taipei and Hong Kong. Bobby became popular in Hong Kong and attracted the attention of famous musicians like Tito Puente, Mel Tormé, Lionel Hampton, and Chico Hamilton. He moved to the United States in 1967 and became a pianist at the famous Golden Dragon Lounge in Honolulu. In Hawaii, he became Don Ho's music director from 1976 to 1977 and performed with Amapola Cabase in San Francisco, California. He made appearances at the Wagon Wheel and Harrah's Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Bobby's reputation as a piano virtuoso and ability to think very quickly were impressive. "The wild man of jazz," known for hitting the piano with fists, palms, and elbows in a karate fashion. He made his mark among jazz heavyweights, including Richie Cole, in the '80s. He joined Richie Cole on tour From 1980 to 1981. During the next four years, he made several albums for GNP Crescendo during 1981-1985, which made his reputation.

One of his most unforgettable performances of Bobby was on a 1990's episode of Piano Jazz, where he played an intense rendition of "Just One of Those Things." In 2000, he re-joined pianist Richie Cole, guitarist Bruce Forman, bassist Marshall Hawkins, and drummer Scott Morris for The Man with the Horn.

Bobby was hailed as the "Ambassador of Jazz" and performed for Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. For Bacolodnons, Bobby is simply the best jazz pianist in the world, a good Christian, and a good friend. He spoke a lot about how God had changed his life. In Bacolod City, He was the most revered, influential musician, the driving force behind the city's love of jazz music, and The wild man from Bacolod.

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