SALISBURY, MD---In the world of jazz, this guitarist, composer and arranger is a living legend.
He has recorded with vocal greats Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughn and even opera star Kiri Te Kanawa.
He has played with Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Stan Goetz, Doc Severinson and Broadway legend Cy Coleman. As a member of the NBC and CBS orchestras he played for Dave Garoway and Kate Smith on their television shows. He records and tours with the Andre Previn Trio.
His musical compositions and arrangements have been heard on such popular series as The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Hawaii 5-0, Starsky and Hutch and The Wild, Wild West. A regular at the famed Monterey Jazz Festival for 16 years, he served as its musical director for four.
He played the White House with Peggy Lee, has toured Europe and Asia, and this Saturday, December 13, at 8 p.m. Mundell Lowe plays Holloway Hall Auditorium at Salisbury University with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra. The revered jazz guitarist will be accompanied by his colleague and friend, bassist Jim Ferguson.
In a field known for idiosyncrasy and sometimes indulgence, Lowe embraces a disciplined routine. The 86-year-old musician told Jazz Times in a profile this month, “Every morning after I finish my coffee and take my old age pill, I come upstairs and play for at least an hour. That way I keep the fingers trained and the brain working to some extent. … I start very slowly, with some interesting scales and maybe some harmonic devices I’d like to be thinking of. What I try to do every morning is read and play a new or strange piece I haven’t played before.”
Such a commitment has led to an illustrious career. Lowe left home while still a teenager to work in Nashville, then New Orleans. Serving in World War II, he met musicians whose influence led to work at New York’s Café Society and Village Vanguard after the war. During the day he worked in television and radio. After 17 years at NBC, he was transferred to its News and Special Events Department to work as a composer. He visited Los Angeles in 1965 and the stay became permanent. There he met Jackie Cooper, then head of Screen Gems, and began the West Coast phase of his career composing music for television and film properties. In the 1980s, he decided to devote more time to his first love, performing. In recent years he has toured the globe as a concert performer. His recording career continues unabated.
Called a national treasure by some, critics from London to New York to L.A. describe him and his music as “graceful,” “superb,” “eloquent” and “one of the best.”
For more information including tickets call 410-548-5587.