Thelonious Monk First Place Competition Winner
Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 9:30 p.m.
New York, NY: Kris Bowers definitely qualifies as one of the brightest young jazz players to emerge in recent years. Just 23-years-old with a Master's Degree from Juilliard, he recently won the prestigious Thelonious Monk piano competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
Bowers will kick-off his first headlining performance at Joe’s Pub on Saturday, September 15th at 9:30 p.m. with Kenneth Whalum III on tenor sax, Nir Felder on guitar, Burniss Travis on bass, Obed Calvaire on drums and special guest vocalist Julia Easterlin. Bowers has built a steadfast following amongst numerous straight-ahead jazz players including Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, both Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Terell Stafford, Robert Glasper and José James, a longtime friend and associate with whom Bowers often tours with as a featured player.
His musical admirers are not only denizens of the jazz community but are also from the worlds of hip hop and R&B including such legends as Kanye West, Ludacris, Q-Tip and none other than the Queen of Soul," Ms. Aretha Franklin. All have expressed admiration for Kris Bowers’s unmistakable talent and originality.
He's already performed with or for such notables as Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and President Barack Obama. Bowers was also tapped to perform at this year’s 30th Annual NEA Jazz Masters Ceremony, where he guested on Frank Wess’s “Magic” with Jazz Masters Frank Wess, Benny Golson, Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Kris Bowers literally hit the tour circuit running since graduating earlier this spring from Juilliard with a Masters degree in Jazz Performance with a focus on film composition. Kris actually missed his Julliard graduation ceremony as not to miss the opportunity to tour the globe, as a featured player, on legendary bassist Marcus Miller’s World Tour. Miller also features Kris on numerous tracks on his current Concord album, Renaissance. Kris adds, “Being on the road with Marcus Miller has been an unbelievable and incredibly inspiring experience. Marcus is one of the few great artists of his generation that has continued along the tradition of artists like Miles Davis and Art Blakey in hiring the next generation, and turning the bandstand and the road into a classroom. Performing with Marcus, being the legend that he is, I'm continuously challenging myself to be a better player.”
In between continental breaks from Marcus Miller’s World Tour, Kris also tours as a featured player on longtime friend, musical associate and inspiring vocalist José James. Kris just returned from José James’ Brazilian Tour and will be heading off to the UK later this fall. Earlier this year Kris invited José to perform at the legendary “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin’s Birthday Bash. They wowed the star-studded crowd, including music maven Clive Davis, who gave the band more than one standing ovation during the performance!
On his longtime musical association with José James, Kris comments, “When playing with José James, it's phenomenal to look out into the crowd and see it full of people my age. That's not the common jazz" audience. José and a number of other young artists right now are making a connection with this generation, and it's amazing to be a part of that. We're helping to shape the sound of music in this era, and it's an incredible journey.”
Ben Ratliff, covering Bowers New York City at Manhattan's Jazz Gallery for the New York Times, wrote of Kris, His playing was serious, thoughtful, organized, restrained; he made the piano sound good. His set had range and ambition and said something strong, sweet and normative about phrasing and rhythm in jazz right now. (It didn’t argue against tradition, and his tradition connects jazz with R&B and gospel on the deeper levels.)…”
Mark your calendars for next Saturday, September 15th at 9:30 p.m. — this is one not to be missed!
425 Lafayette Street
New York, New York 10003