Bob Bowman – jazz bassist / composer / educator

Bob Bowman, a native Kansan, learned to play the piano and clarinet before beginning bass lessons at age 12. He won a scholarship to the Stan Kenton Jazz Clinic as a high school freshman, followed by study at North Texas State University.

In 1976, he joined the famous Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, touring and recording several albums, including the Grammy award-winning “Live in Munich.” Bob continued his performing and recording career by joining the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Big Band in Los Angeles in 1979. He recorded numerous albums as a member of this band, many of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. Bob also had a long musical relationship with pianist, composer and arranger Frank Mantooth.

While based in Los Angeles, Bob toured with the legendary Carmen McRae and performed with Freddie Hubbard, Bud Shank and others. Bob moved to Kansas City in 1988 where he has been a vibrant part of the jazz scene there. He was a member of the University of Missouri at Kansas City Faculty Jazztet, and leads group Interstring. Bob recorded and has toured with jazz artist Karrin Allyson.

Bob spends a good part of his time in Montana where he first visited when he was 5 years old, enjoying playing music and the beautiful country year around.


Bowman, a native Kansan, explored the jazz scenes on both coasts and toured the world with heavy hitters — the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, singer Carmen McRae — before deciding to settle down in Kansas City in the late ’80s.

A few years later, Allyson came along and took him out on the road again for at least a decade. But he never left for too long, and the last few years, Bowman has devoted himself to being closer to home — family, friends and his horse.

Since the ’80s, he has made himself one of the central figures of the Kansas City jazz scene. He has helped many younger players get it together, and by his own playing he has raised the bar for what’s expected of bassists and rhythm sections in this town.

Now, emerging from this difficult period, he has raised the bar for himself. And we all get to enjoy the results.

The Kansas City Star

Original article

A dexterous vocalist, Allyson sang the Allison material with irascible grit and applied sanguine assurance to “Sous le Ciel de Paris.” Like Allyson, Bowman seems to be improving with age. The bassist stood out among the masterly accompanists. The high ceilings and pristine sound field transformed the tone of his instrument from an indeterminate pulse to a multi-dimensional dynamo. Bowman may never have sounded better.

Special to The Star

Original article