Danny Bowens

Danny Bowens


This, my first CD, is dedicated to my father, the late Daniel Bowens, Sr., who showed me what it means to be a good and gentle man. It is an intergenerational, inspirational labor of love that began as a melody that awakened me in the pre-dawn hours of Father’s Day 2004.


Danny came of age at the height of the contemporary jazz explosion of the 1970s. While studying at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Danny received his first introduction to the bass from his roommate, Burt Jones, who went on to become guitarist with the original Saturday Night Live (“SNL”) Band. In his years at Lincoln, Danny built relationships with many that would be considered the who’s who of contemporary jazz, such as Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson to name a few.

While a student, Danny joined The Midnight Band with Scott-Heron and Jackson, recording and touring the United States and Europe for six years. Hearing the band play several venues in New York and Los Angeles, the late comedian Richard Pryor requested that The Midnight Band play SNL in 1975, the year he hosted.

Danny’s talents as a musician and composer have gained the recognition and respect of many greats in the jazz community and music industry, including Stevie Wonder, eight-time Grammy winner, George Benson, and Greg Phillenganes, who all sat in with the band on different occasions at the world-renown Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. One of the masters of the bass, Charles Mingus, who was very influential in Danny's development as a bassist and composer, came to see the band in Cleveland. Stanley Clark dropped in on one of The Midnight Band's recording sessions in the Village in New York City and complimented Danny on the bass lines he was creating. More encouragement came from Grammy winner Marcus Miller, who said he studied the bass line from The Bottle "note for note."

After the disbanding of The Midnight Band, Danny took on more musical challenges, studying the bass violin with jazz heavyweights, Marshall Hawkins and Keter Betts (formerly with Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, respectively) in Washington, DC, and Charles Fambrough (formerly with McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, and Grover Washington, Jr.) in Philadelphia. And Danny went on to do gigs with Charlie Rouse, Kenny Barron, Esther Phillips, and Jack McDuff.

Although he loves playing the bass, Danny also loves composing and was granted a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. However, opting to spend more time with his young family, Danny studied composing and arranging through Berklee’s correspondence course.

He wrote two compositions with Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, Must be Something and New York City, and composed eight songs with Elite on the Collage CD. In addition, Danny’s skill as a composer could be heard on The Julianne Malveaux Show, for which he wrote the theme song, Rainforest, airing on DC’s PBS radio station from 1995-97. A versatile composer and spiritual man, Danny has written two songs on the gospel CD, If It's Right… God Has Made It Right, by Bishop Omega and Glorious Hope.

Prior to joining his current band, Marquise in 1997, Danny was a member of the house band at the Channel Inn Hotel in DC for 14 years, 10 of them as bandleader. During this time, he also played with the SNL Band.

In 2008, Danny Bowens formed iamu Records to release Father's Day and other projects to come. “iamu” is not a new concept; 35 years ago Gil Scott-Heron wrote a song called, “alluswe,” which attempted to address the issue of the racial divide that was so prevalent in the United States then. The name, “iamu” takes that concept even further by personalizing it, making it an ideal that we each must own.

For more information on Marquise, go to (akbands.com).


With Gil Scott-Heron:
Winter in America, 1974
First Minute of a New Day, 1975
From South Africa to South Carolina, 1975
Saturday Night Live DVD, 1975
It’s Your World, 1976
Bridges, 1977
Real Eyes, 1980
Anthology Messages CD, 2005

With Elite:
Collage, 1994

Father’s Day, 2008