Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Bowen, Ralph (Michael)
Bowen, Ralph (Michael), saxophones: tenor, alto, soprano, flute; b. Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 23 December 1961. He was raised in Acton, Ontario, Canada. His father is Stanley Gordonborn (born Aug.12,1926) and his mother is Florence Amelia (born April 6 1925. His siblings are Wayne Lawrence (April 17,1945), Wendy Darryl (June 28, 1949), Mark Ralph (July 26, 1951) and Paul David (Aug 11,1960). His son is Gordon Marchbanks (born March 23, 1990) and his daughter is Geraldine Alexandra Nicole (born March 2, 2002).
Bowen made his mark on the New York jazz scene in the mid-1980s recording four records for Blue Note as co-leader of OTB (Out of the Blue), the first of which won the Silver Disc Award for Best Jazz Album in Japan. He began touring and recording with pianists Horace Silver and Michel Camilo. In the 1990s, Bowen performed and recorded with Renee Rosnes, Hank Jones, Orrin Evans, Jim Beard, Shirley Scott, Benny Carter, and Trudy Pitts. Ralph established what has become a long-term association with bassist Charles Fambrough, recording numerous CDs together in a variety of settings. Free Trade, an all-Canadian co-led quintet, recorded a self-titled CD and toured Canada in 1994. The CD won the Canadian Juno award for best mainstream jazz album. In the late 1990s, Bowen joined the Ralph Peterson Jr.Fo'tet.
Born in Canada, Ralph Bowen started piano lessons at age 5, with clarinet and saxophone lessons following soon after. When he was only 13, he was already leading his own quartet, which performed in major jazz clubs around Canada. Ralph Bowen has always recognized the importance of jazz education, and in 1988 was awarded the Outstanding Service to Jazz Education Award by the National Association of Jazz Educators.
From 1984-1986, he took part in an Artist Diploma Program at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. His concentrations were in Jazz Composition, improvisation, theory, and history under tutelage of David N. Baker. He studied cassical saxophone with Eugene Rousseau and Daniel Duffaette.
In 1989, he got his B.M. at Mason Gross School of the Arts; Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey. His major was Jazz and Classical Performance-Saxophone and Flute Summa cum Laude. In 1991, he got his M.M. at Mason Gross School of the Arts; Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey. His major was Classical performance-Flute and he did studies under Dr. James S. Scott and Robert Dick.In 1990, Bowen joined the jazz faculty at Rutgers University, where he is currently the coordinator of the jazz department, director of the Jazz Ensemble, and professor of saxophone and music theory. Additionally, he is a visiting Associate Professor at Princeton University where he teaches saxophone and Jazz combo/improvisation classes. He continues to tour the world, performing, teaching, and giving masterclasses.
Bowen has performed in extensively throughout The United States, Canada, Aruba, Santa Domingo, Puerto Rico, Brazil, England, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Holland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, and Japan.
The festivals he has performed at include the Newport Jazz Festival, RI; Kool Jazz Festival, VA; Clearwater Jazz Festival, FL; Detroit/Montreux Jazz Festival; Edmonton Jazz City, AB; Atlanta Free Jazz Festival, GA; Chicago Jazz Festival, IL; Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival, Japan; Madrid Jazz Festival, Spain; Bern Jazz Festival, Switzerland; North Sea Jazz Festival, Holland; Berlin Jazz Festival, Germany; Stockholm Jazz Festival, Sweden; JVC Jazz Festivals; Montreal Jazz Festival, Quebec; Ottawa Jazz Festival, ON; Melon Jazz Festival, PA; Inter. Jazz & Blues de Quebec; Cape May Jazz Festival, NJ; Helsinki Jazz Festival, Finland; Rio de Janeiro Jazz Festival, Brazil; Sao Paulo Jazz Festival, Brazil; Demaurier Jazz Festival, Toronto; Lucerne Jazz Festival, Switzerland; Cork Jazz Festival, Ireland; Fujitsu Concord Festival, CA; Playhouse Jazz Festival, PA;PECO Jazz Festival, PA; Jambalaya Festival, PA; and the African Amer. Heritage Fest., DE.
He has performed with Horace Silver, Tony Williams, Charles Fambrough, Freddie Hubbard, Michel Camilo, Hank Jones, Trudy Pitts, James Spaulding, Kenny Garrett, Johnny Griffin, David Baker, Jeff Watts, Dennis Chambers, Stanley Jordan, Brian Blade, Jim Beard, Andy Bey, Stanley Turrentine, Ron Carter, Peter Bernstein, Mino Cenilu, Lou Rawls, Charnett Moffat, Stanley Cowell, Anthony Jackson, Rene Rosnes, Al Grey, Teramasu Hino, Shirley Scott, Branford Marsalis, Ralph Peterson, Bob Hurst, Kenny Drew Jr., Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Bill Stewart, Jon Herington, Michael Brecker, Benny Carter, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Jon Faddis, Joe Ford, Bill O'Connell, Stephon Harris, Gary Bartz, Claudio Roditi, Chu Cho Valdez, Paquito D'Rivera, Walter Bishop Jr., Sam Newsome, Tim Warfield, Antonio Hart, Avishai Cohen, Lenny White, Don Thompson, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Vanguard Jazz Band, Art Blakey Big Band, Ted Moses Big Band, Bob Mintzer Big Band, Michel Camilo Big Band, Rick Tait Big Band, Maria Schnieder Big Band, Tom Pierson Big Band, Calgary Olympic Big Band, and Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass.
In concert, he has performed at Carnegie Hall-NYC, Fabrick-Germany, Avery Fisher Hall-NYC, Amherst College-MA, Teatro Metropolitan-Italy, Walker Arts Center-MN, Melody Arts Center-MD, Symphony Space-NYC, Steinway Hall-NYC, Beacon Theatre-NYC, Oberlin College-OH, Univ. of Michigan, Ontario Science Centre Ontario Place-Toronto, Long Island Univ.-NYC, Munich Symphony Hall, Left Bank Jazz Society, Princeton University, Indiana University-IN, Central Florida Univ.-FL, French Embassy-DC, Arkansas Arts Centre, Univ. of Conn-Storrs Puffin Arts Center-NJ, Epcot Center-FL, Penn State University, Keswick Theater-PA, Trenton State College, Temple University-PA, Emory & Henry College, Kennedy Center-DC, and the National Library, Ottawa.
The jazz clubs he's worked at include the Blue Note-NYC, Blue Note-Tokyo, Blue Note-Osaka, Fat Tuesdays-NYC, New Morning-Paris, Blues Alley-DC, Ronnie Scotts-London, Pizza Express-London, Georges-Toronto, Bourbon Street-Toronto, Village Gate-NYC, Bakers-Detroit, Monmartre-Copenhagen, Fashion-Stockholm, Sweet Basil's-NYC, Catalina's-LA, Kimbals-San Francisco, Visiones-NYC, Birdland-NYC, Smalls-NYC, Ortliebs-Philadelphia, Chris'-Philadelphia, Zanzibar Blue-Phila, Half Note-Athens, Milos-Thesoloniki-Gr,. Club Classico-Rome, Village Vanguard-NYC, Jazz Standard-NYC, Tonic-NYC, Dharma-NYC, Bohemian Caverns-DC, and the Metronome Cafe-NYC.
OTB: Out of the Blue (1985), Inside Track (1986), Live at Mt. Fuji (1986), Spiral Staircase (1989); Movin' On (1992); A Morning View (2001); Soul Proprietor (2002)
Manteca: Strength in Numbers (1982), Extra, Extra (1983); Various Artists: Blue Note '86 (1986); Bobby Watson and Horizon: Post-Motown Bop (1990); Rene Rosnes: Rene Rosnes (1990); Michel Camilo: On the Other Hand (1990); Horace Silver: Rockin' with Rachmoninov (1991); Benny Carter: Harlem Renaissance (1992); Various Artists: Jazz Valentine-In the Mood (1993); Jon Herington: Complete Rhyming Dictionary (1993); Vince Dimura: Black on White (1994); Michel Camilo: One More Once (1994); Free Trade: Free Trade (1994); Charles Fambrough: Keeper of the Spirit (1994); Fortune/VinSon/Cruse: Crusin' (1995); Michel Camilo: Two Much (1994); Esque: Strangers No More (1995); Jon Serry: Enchantress (1996); Michel Camilo: Too Much (1996); Earl McDonald: Schroeder's Tantrum (1997); K-Jazz All-Stars: Strait Ahead (1997); The Fins: Blues Print (1997); George Johnson: Turquoise Ocean; Nilda Fernandez: Innu Nikamu (1998); K-Jazz All-Stars/Amigos: Spirit Talk (1998); Marc Sweetman: Inspired (1998); Eva: Eva (1998); Dawn Warren: Dawn (1998); Orrin Evans: Captain Black (1998); Orrin Evans: Old Folk's Business (1999); Ralph Peterson: Back to Stay (1999); Len Bryant: It's Now Midnight (2000); Orrin Evans: Listen to the Band (2000); Seed: Seed (2000); The Fins: Superstar (2000); Vince Dimura: Imperfect Balance (2001); Craig Schoedler: By the Water (2001); Bob Murphy Quartet: Free On The Inside (2001); Marc Sweetman: All Paths Lead to One (2001); Orrin Evans: Meant to Shine (2002)
1999 NJ-IAJE High School Jazz Saxophone Etude No. 2
1999 NJ-IAJE Junior Jazz Saxophone Etude No. 2
2001 NJ-IAJE High School Jazz Saxophone Etude No. 4
2001 NJ-IAJE Junior Jazz Saxophone Etude No. 4
2000 Innovators PBS Nationwide
1995 State of the Arts New Jersey Network (NJN)
1992 Newport Jazz Festival with Michel Camilo Newport, Rhode Island
1991 Newport Jazz Festival Newport, Rhode Island
1991 Munich International Jazz Festival Munich, Germany
1990 Jazz In with Michel Camilo Zurich, Switzerland
1988 OTB Live at the Bern Jazz Festival Bern, Switzerland
1988 Olympic Jazz Orchestra & Rob McConnell Calgary, Alberta
1986-88 Mt. Fuji Jazz Festivals with OTB Japan
2000 Innovators TrebleV
1994 Michel Camilo Big Band-Live in Santa Domingo CBS Sony
1989 New Stars on Blue Note Capitol
1986 OTB and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Toshiba
1995 Two Much, Fernando Trueba, director; Julio Martinez-Lazaro
1994 Los Peores Anos de Nuestra, Vida Fernando Trueba, director;Julio
1993 Amo Tu Cama Rica, Fernando Trueba, director
1991 Seeds of a New City, Documentary; Ralph Bowen, music
1991 Community Gardening-An Urban Remedy, Documentary; Ralph Bowen, music
Ralph Bowen Quartet Live at The Upstairs Jazz Club, Montreal, CBC Radio Canada, 2001.
Ralph Peterson Fo'tet Live at the Bluenote, NYC, Jazz Set with Branford Marsalis, NPR, 2000.
Earl McDonald CBC Radio Canada, 1997.
Charles Fambrough/John Blake
Live at Wiggins Park, WRTIfm, 1996.
Fortune, Vinson, Cruz Live at Wiggins Park, WRTIfm, 1995.
Free Trade Live in Saskatoon, CBC Radio Canada, 1994
Michel Camilo Live at Fat Tuesdays, CD 101.9, 1991.
Michel Camilo Live at Fat Tuesdays, WBGOfm, 1991.
Horace SilverLive at the Chicago Jazz Fest., The American Jazz Radio Festival, 1991.
Ralph Bowen Live at the Ontario Science Centre, CJRTfm, 1988.
OTB Live at the Village Gate New Years Eve, NPR, 1986.
Keith Blackley Quartet CBC Radio Canada, 1986.
Keith Blackley Quintet Live at East 85th, 1985.
Ralph Bowen Live in London, Ontario, KOLfm, numerous shows between 1977-1981.
"Ralph Bowen" by Dr. Lou Iozi, Jazz Player Magazine, April/May 2000 pgs 26-35.
"I could take that band [the Rutgers University Jazz Ensemble, Ralph Bowen-Director] on the road with me starting tomorrow."Ray Charles, War Memorial Hall, Trenton, December, 2000.
"Cecil Taylor and Ralph Bowen: main jazzmen of the year-1985." Mark Miller, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada
"Bowen brings a vital fluency to the solos." Leonard Feather, The L.A. Times.
Danny O'Bryan, The Louisville Times.
Zan Stewart, "Tenors of Our Time," JAZZIZ Magazine, November, 2002.
Nate Chinen, "Saxophonic," Jazztimes, January, 2003.
1995 Inaugural "Brick" for performance with George Benson & Trudy Pitts opening the Philadelphia Clef Club for the Performing Arts.
1994 Juno Award -Canada.Best Mainstream Album:Free Trade -Free Trade
1988 Outstanding Service to Jazz Education - National Association of Jazz Educators
1986 Silver Disk Award -Japan.Best Jazz Album: Out of the Blue-OTB