Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Kramer, Robert (Robert Joseph Kowalski)
Kramer, Robert [Robert Joseph Kowalski], keyboards, guitar, vocals, author; b.Chicago, IL, 28 October, 1954. His parents are Robert and Anna Kowalski. He's married to Dona Kare-Kowalski and currently resides in Aurora, Illinois.
Robert grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Aside from a short period of keyboard lessons between the ages of 7 and 14, has had no formal training in music. He is entirely self-taught on guitar. His main musical influences included: Frank Zappa, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Weather Report, and a wide variety of contemporary pop and avant-garde jazz influences. Directed and produced a series of live musical events and studio recordings under the pseudonym "Dr. Bizarro" between 1986 - 1993, which encompassed original theatrical musical comedy using rock/jazz, jazz fusion and many various musical styles in the tradition of Zappa, Beefheart and Bonzo Dog Band.
Post 1993, Kramer underwent spinal surgery due to a broken neck, resulting from a stunt mishap on a local TV program, The Friday Club, on which he made a series of appearances as a troupe member in 1991-92. The injury caused a progressive nerve paralysis in his hands and fingers. After a divorce and a 2-year recuperative/rehab period, he returned to the keyboards and guitar once again, performing as a side musician in a series of local venues, attending jam sessions whenever he could. During this period, Kramer also underwent training as a audio/video engineer, and started his own recording facilities, founding IBOB Digital Recording & Sound. Moving to Deerfield, Illinois, he married Dona Kare (now Dona Kare-Kowalski) in 2001 and began to engineer a series of demos for various local artists and bands in the Chicago area.
Remaining active as a performing musician and composer, he was commissioned in 2001 to write the musical score for an independent film documenting the fundraising activities of an animal rescue group named Guardian Angel Basset Rescue. Composing the title song "Remember Their Lives", he also wrote various instrumental and vocal pieces for the soundtrack, which was released as an album and ultimately an independent film, produced by Robert Jacob of Bradley University. During the following year, Kramer released an album titled "Songs Of Past Lives", which was a collection of original renaissance and contemporary classical music written after undergoing past life regression hypnotherapy. He lectured on this phenomenon at various spiritual community events, and appeared at the Body Mind Spirit Expo in Rosemont, Illinois in Sept. 2002, during which he demonstrated past life regression on stage and performed a number of channeled compositions while under hypnosis.
He continues as a composer/performing musician and an entirely self-produced and self-funded independent recording artist, and is planning a schedule of special appearances to promote his indie releases.
Robert Kowalski/Watch Out (1983); Remember Their Lives (CD soundtrack album) (2001); Blood On The Full Moon (2001); Songs Of Past Lives (2002); I Am This (2003); Live at Fitzgerald's (2004); compilations on which Robert Kramer appears: Repossessed Compilation (2002), Oasis Sampler (2003); as Dr. Bizarro: Fringe Lunatic Apocalypse (1987), The Big Machine (1994), Enema Phosphate (1997), Music Is A Dangerous Weapon (1998), Duck Tape Mummy (1999), Not Just Another Stupid Copy Band (2000), Lord, I'm Sorry (2000); compilations on which Dr.Bizarro Appears: Pivotal Records Compilation (2001), Chaos Sampler
Published Articles written by Robert Kramer
"Hilary Rosen Ignores The Real Thieves" (November 2002) (DMusic.Com, Music Dish, Gnutella)
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