Signal Hill has long been a communications point on the Southern California landscape. In an earlier era, Native Americans signaled their brethren with fire and smoke, from Santa Catalina Island to the foothills of the Coastal Range bordering what is now L.A.

Today the signals are electronic, connecting us--at the click of a mouse--to vast, new worldwide networks.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jazz Pianist's 23-Year Gig at Nordstrom Terminated

Ron Kobayashi, jazz pianist and long-time fixture at Orange County's premier jazz club, Steamers, has been fired--along with most other Nordstrom pianists around the nation.  (See L.A. Times article on the subject.)

This is another blow sending lovers of live jazz music reeling, and questioning Nordstom's loyalty to its long-time employees.

And for many of us who, while shopping, delight in the refined sounds coming from a baby grand, it is one more incentive for not  spending the extra bucks at this up-scale department store.

Ron is also leader of the Ron Kobayashi Trio, and has composed, recorded and performed for decades in the Southern California region.  To see and hear what a treasure we have, click here for a link to his MySpace page and to view a few videos of the trio.

If you want to tell Norstrom how misguided their new policy is, you can e-mail them at

Here you can see an old video from Dan Rather's CBS News discussing pianists at Nordstrom, and hearing Ron play a little jazz Christmas music.

-- RCH


  1. Thanks for this excellent post, Richard, although it is very sad news. I've just followed your link to the Nordstrom site and left a message expressing my disappointment in their action.

  2. Trista said...

    When I started working for Nordstrom, the one in Redondo Beach, they had recently let go of their piano player. I remember I was so excited to see a piano near my area but sadly no piano player ever showed up! What a tease! They still have the piano but no piano player. I guess it is just there for looks now...

  3. All our efforts had their impact. Ron was asked by Nordstrom to return. Turns out, however, he chose not to.

    It seems that Ron feels that teaching Jazz Improvisation at n Orange County music conservatory is a better use of his time than playing standards for busy shoppers... and more lucrative too, I suppose.