10 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

TITLE TIME
1:52
5:34
8:01
6:35
4:49
6:44
1:22
6:15
1:29
5:39

About Kris Bowers

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 high school, Bowers earned both undergraduate and Master's degrees in jazz performance from Juilliard. It was there that Bowers began making a name for himself as a formidable jazz musician and he found regular work gigging around New York City. In 2011, Bowers won first place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. That same year, he showcased his versatility by appearing on Jay-Z and Kanye West's collaborative album, Watch the Throne. In 2014, Bowers released his experimental jazz, R&B, and electronic-influenced debut album Heroes + Misfits on Concord. ~ Matt Collar

  • ORIGIN
    Los Angeles, CA
  • GENRE
    Jazz
  • BORN
    1989

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