Adventure and learning have long been driving forces in my life. So, concerned that pedants at Los Angeles City College were interfering with my schooling, in 1953 I went on the road. An eighteen-year-old jazz musician can get a serious education in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

    Since then I have played bass in big bands, night clubs, recording studios, Broadway pit orchestras, on radio and television (an Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts winner), and with many major jazz artists. Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Maynard Ferguson, June Christy, and Chris Connor are but a few.

    I composed the music for six musicals, the first at age 19. HEADS I WIN starred James Coburn as Henry VIII. DIGGING FOR APPLES was the longest-running off-Broadway review of 1962.

     For the film industry I scored and conducted COME SPY WITH ME, wrote the vocal arrangements for THE WAY WEST, and contributed a song to SEBASTIAN. In 1967 I created, conducted and produced the songs and score for Herbert Brodkin's ABC-TV musical special THE HAPPENERS.

    As music director/arranger/producer for The Serendipity Singers, The Bitter End Singers, and The Big Three featuring Mama Cass, I had singles in the Top 10, the Top 40, and two albums on the Top 100 charts for more than a year.

    For eleven years I wrote and produced jingles for Madison Avenue: Ford, Pan Am, TWA, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Swiss Air. Somehow, I became typecast as a travel expert.

    From 1978 until 1990 I owned and operated The Place, a jazz club in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hurricane Hugo and a near-fatal auto accident brought about a sudden shift in careers. Unable to play and the club blown away, I took up hiking.

    My coast-to-coast trek took one year; Americans viewed me as a vagrant. The second leg took a mere two months; Britons treated me as royalty. Actually, much better than royalty: Everyone knows how they treat their royals.

    Between jaunts I live in Columbus, Ohio, where I garden, cook, brew beer, make wine and write books. I share my life with two cats, Dexter and Sinister; a pugnacious Siamese piscis named Sushimi; a backyard full of songbirds, squirrels and possums; and with Cynthia, my loving, understanding and forgiving wife.

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Copyright 1999 Robert Bowers
This page was last modified 26 August 2006