Local & Live: Honoring Artistry, Celebrating Community
An Evening with Jack Bowers
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Jack Bowers is a gifted pianist, composer, and educator, whose career roots stretch back to the late ’60s psychedelic era. During the early ’70s, he was playing in Santa Cruz’s Oganookie, a band that encompassed an eclectic brew of folk, blues, and country-rock; and later, with country singer Lacy J. Dalton. “An Evening with Jack Bowers” will trace a curious career path in music that has led Bowers from the clubs and concert halls of northern California, to a 25-year sojourn in California’s prison system, and back again. Bowers continues to embrace an adventurous approach to music with his cutting-edge jazz compositions, and an ensemble that features reed instrumentalist Michael Moss; vocalists Vicki Coffis and Jerry Best; bassist Steve Larkin; and drummer Billy McCord. A firm believer in using the arts for positive social change, Jack has also been active in promoting and teaching music workshops for prison inmates.
In the late 70s he co-founded the Santa Cruz Songwriter’s Guild. This led to an invitation to teach a songwriting class at Soledad Prison. With the mentorship and support of former Duke Ellington alumnus Buddy Harper, this part time gig evolved to a full time job teaching music and directing the fine arts program at the prison. At its height, the Arts in Corrections program had twenty inmate bands, as well as hundreds of individuals studying music, visual arts and writing. Bowers learned first hand the transformative power of the arts, watching prisoner students grow from curious beginners to mature artists and mentors of others.
Since retiring from full time prison work in 2007, Bowers has resumed his musical career, composing, recording and performing throughout the Bay area as a jazz pianist and composer, working primarily as a solo pianist and in jazz combos, but also exploring other musical formats. He also continues his commitment to bringing music and art to underserved populations, as an active Chair of the Board of Directors of the William James Association Prison Arts Project.
This concert will feature Jack’s original compositions, from Oganookie songs of the early 70’s to freshly minted compositions, from love songs to contemporary jazz. A portion of the concert will present excerpts from Jack’s extended composition “Soledad Suite”, a musical evocation of his work at Soledad prison. The featured instrumentalist will be New York-based reed player Michael Moss, fresh from his latest release “Intervals”. Vocal duties will be handled by Back in Time’s Vicki Coffis and veteran Santa Cruz musician Jerry Best. Jack’s long time rhythm section colleagues, Steve Larkin on bass and Billy McCord on drums, will provide a solid backbone to the evening’s festivities.
An Evening with Jack Bowers
DATE: Thursday, March 20, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $15/Adv $20/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227
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