"John can make an electric guitar sound like a singing voice." Nat Hentoff
John Stowell, for the past 35 years, has been conducting clinics and giving concerts all over the world - In Europe for a few months a year, appearing in venues from NYC to Portland, ME, then from Portland, OR, to San Francisco to Los Angeles, Stowell is the definition of the peripatetic troubadour. Now Mr. Stowell is venturing to secure more steady work Stateside, at the country's jazz conservatories, offering jazz guitar clinics, special performances and live recording sessions with the nation's finest up-and-coming jazz guitarists and their peers.
FOR A COMPLETE CATALOGUE OF HIS AVAILABLE ALBUMS ON ORIGIN RECORDS, SEE HERE.
"The quality of your playing impresses me very much. You have great taste and sensitivity. You’re a true musician, and I would add, a true jazz musician”
John Stowell is an in-demand clinician as a jazz guitarist. He has taught internationally since the late 1970’s, frequently doing short residencies. In addition to being a virtuoso soloist, he has been called an inspiration to students at every level of musical development because of his wonderful ability to translate complicated theory into meaningful insights and creative applications. He is known for his pragmatic, intuitive teaching style that involves his students and helps them find their own voices in the music. John is able to speak with authority about the music business as well as a result of his long tenure as a working and touring player.
“The purpose of my clinics is to provide insights into both the technical and creative processes for both the student musicians and the serious listener. An informal performance by me is followed by an open-ended question and answer session covering topics ranging from the nature of improvisation and harmony to elements of the music business and self-promotion. In a master class setting, specific demonstrations of scales, substitutions, chord construction and embellishment will also be addressed. Students are also encouraged to play with me and in their own ensembles. Constructive evaluations and critiques will follow.”
PAST CLINICS INCLUDE
International Association of Jazz Educators,
New Orleans, LA, and
Los Angeles, CA
Dick Grove School,
Los Angeles, CA
Berklee School of Music,
Manhattan School of Music,
New York, NY
Lionel Hampton School of Music,
University of North Texas,
Escuela Para La Formacion Integral
Buenos Aires, Argentina
University of Utah,
Salt Lake City, UT
BMI Arranger's Workshop
with Bob Brookmeyer, and Manny Albam,
New York, NY
Stanford Jazz Workshop,
Stanford University, CA
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA
National Guitar Summer Workshop,
Los Angeles, CA
Bud Shank's Pt. Townsend Clinic/Festival,
Pt. Townsend, WA
Institut Musik Daya,
And dozens of others in the USA, Canada,
Asia and South America
Here's a November, 2017 review of three new albums from the New York City Jazz Record:
Scenes-Destinations John Stowell
Cross Country Lines Mark Kleinhaut & John Stowell
Cosmology Rolf Jardemark & John Stowell
By Scott Yanow
John Stowell is a veteran guitarist who, despite their different sounds and repertoire, can be thought of as a latter-day Jim Hall. Like Hall, Stowell is consistently relaxed both in his improvising style and in his sound. His choice of notes is advanced yet, due to his tone, his solos often sound soothing. He never plays the obvious and close listening to his playing always reveals plenty of subtle surprises.
Scenes – Destinations is a trio set with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. Stowell and Johnson often share the spotlight with the bassist getting almost as much solo space as the leader. On five Stowell originals, two from Johnson, a pair of standards (“Solar” and “You And The Night And The Music”) and Tommy O’Donnell’s “Psalm,” the trio engages in post-bop explorations that are full of close interplay. Stowell’s playing is lyrical yet adventurous, quiet yet unpredictable. Many of his originals set moods rather than feature memorable melodies. One song leads easily to the next throughout the set. Among the highlights are Johnson’s virtuosic bass playing on “The Mandy Walk,” the playful “Long Prairie” which has a particularly light-hearted melody by Stowell, a version of “Solar” that is group improvisation at its best (the theme does not emerge until near its conclusion), the fairly free ensemble playing on “T.I.O.” and a swinging “You And The Night And The Music.” All in all, Scenes – Destinations serves as an excellent introduction to John Stowell’s playing.
Cross Country Lines has John Stowell performing duets with the very complementary Mark Kleinhaut. The two guitarists have such similar sounds and approaches that it is often difficult to know who is playing what unless one pays close attention to which speaker the music is coming out of. While Stowell is based out of Portland, Oregon, Kleinhaut (who ironically lived in Portland, Maine for 20 years) resides in Albany, New York. The CD received its title when Stowell flew cross country to meet up with Kleinhaut in New England. The two guitarists explore a dozen familiar standards on their duet set, but these renditions are not predictable or in debt to earlier versions. While the opening “Triste” begins with the theme, in most cases the melody does not pop up until near the performance’s conclusion. Stowell and Kleinhaut, who had performed a few duo gigs prior to the recording, simply improvise from the start and let their imaginations take the music on a journey. They share the lead, closely accompany each other, and often sound as if they are one guitarist with four hands. To name a few examples of their inventiveness, both “How Deep Is The Ocean” and John Coltrane’s “Equinox” are largely unrecognizable at first, “Someday My Prince Will Come” gives no hint of the theme, “Body And Soul” is turned into an abstract waltz, and “Well You Needn’t” does not seem as if it were written by Thelonious Monk. Instead, all of the songs sound as if they were newly composed. For listeners, it can be fun trying to guess what tune the guitarists are playing before the theme emerges. The renditions are all taken at relaxed tempos but the playing is full of constant creativity and inner heat that grows in interest with each listen.
Cosmology, which teams Stowell with fellow guitarist Rolf Jardemark (with bassist Peter Janson added on two of the ten numbers), is a bit more conventional and straight-ahead oriented without ever sounding predictable. One feels the presence of Joe Pass more than Jim Hall on this project with the improvising being more boppish. Jardemark, who released the CD on his own label in his native Sweden, and Stowell split the program between standards and originals. The guitarists begin with Jardemark’s joyful jazz waltz “Margot’s Vals” which swings well with the bassist making the group a trio. “Deep Purple,” which is also a swinger, has the guitarists taking turns providing basslines for each other. In contrast, easy-listening versions of “A Foggy Day” and “I Should Care” are played quite melodically with the duo sticking close to the themes. Of the originals, “Sonny,” which features fine counterpoint between the two guitarists, is a relative of “Solar,” the menacing strut “Nanti Glo” wanders a bit and takes its time, “Cosmology” is built on the chord changes of “Lady Be Good” (and has the guitarists colorfully playing off each other’s ideas) and “Starlight Waltz” is a melancholy closer.
Each of the three CDs is easily recommended to fans of John Stowell and thoughtful but quietly stimulating jazz.
Origin 82736 John Stowell, guitar; Jeff Johnson, bass; John Bishop, drums
The Mandy Walk; Long Prairie; Solar; For Heide; Pretty Boy Floyd; T.I.O; Psalm; You And The Night And The Music; Simple Pleasures; Tapioca Time 57:52 For more information, visit www.originarts.com
Invisible Music IM-2050 Mark Kleinhaut, John Stowell, guitar
Triste; How Deep Is The Ocean; Equinox; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; Body And Soul; Once I Loved; Solar; Someday My Prince Will Come; Well You Needn’t; Insensatez; Stella By Starlight; Alone Together 51:36 For more information, visit www.invisiblerecords.com
Guitarland Records GLR 004 Rolf Jardemark, guitar; John Stowell, guitar; Peter Janson, bass on “Margot’s Vals” and “Inutil Paisagem”
Margot’s Vals; Deep Purple; You Stepped Out Of A Dream; A Foggy Day; I Should Care; Inutil Paisagem; Sonny; Nanti Glo; Cosmology; Starlight Waltz 49:05 For more information, visit www.rolfjardemark.com