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Heroes + Misfits

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iTunes Review

The 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition winner, Kris Bowers, brings together a variety of musical interests on his striking debut, Heroes + Misfits. Bowers is a product of classical and jazz training, but he also contributed to Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne and has written for films. “Forever Spring” opens the album on an ambient note, as Bowers spins out quietly dramatic acoustic piano lines amid birdsong and subtle electronics. “Wake the Neighbors” moves back and forth between sections featuring Adam Agati’s dirty guitar and passages that evoke Brad Mehldau's pop-inflected jazz. On “#TheProtester,” Bowers turns in an Eastern-colored solo as he's driven by the ace rhythm section of bassist Burniss Earl Travis II and drummer Jamire Williams. Singer Julia Easterlin, who recalls Björk, is backed by layers of her own backing vocals on “Forget-er.” “Drift” features artfully clattering drums and nice work by tenor saxophonist Kenneth Whalum III and alto saxophonist Casey Benjamin. The brief solo piano piece “First” leads into the lovely and pared-down “Ways of Light,” where the extraordinary Jose James shines on vocals.

Customer Reviews

Simply Amazing!!!

Heard him play at the Bootleg Bar in LA!!! His energy is completely magnetic!! Can't wait for the whole album!!


Kris Bowers and his co-writer Adam Agati successfully blend indie rock and jazz on "Wake the Neighbors" in a way that just hasn't been done. Can't wait to hear more!

A new generation with a vintage style

You'd think an artist who started his career with a hook on Kanye West & Jay-Z's album Watch The Throne (he played on No Church In The Wild) would deliver a more mainstream sound. As a huge fan of jazz and hip hop, I didn't quite know what to expect from the young Mr. Bowers. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised to find his debut album to be complex, layered and demanding of repeat listens. It's certainly not anything close to hip hop, but for fans of jazz, this album is a good sign that the art form is alive and well in the 21st century.


Born: 1989 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s

Pianist and composer Kris Bowers makes genre-bending jazz that touches upon contemporary R&B, electronica, and forward-thinking modal improvisation. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1989, Bowers grew up listening to his parents classic soul records and hip-hop before falling under the spell of jazz, classical music, and film scores. He studied classical piano and jazz while attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and performed in numerous festivals while still a teenager. After...
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Heroes + Misfits, Kris Bowers
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Customer Ratings