Stanley Cowell  

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Stanley Cowell (1941 – 2020) was an American pianist and co-founder of the Strata-East Records label, noted for such compositions as "Travelin' Man" (1974) and "Smiling Billy Suite Pt.II " (1975).


Early life

Cowell was born in Toledo, Ohio. He began playing the piano around the age of four, and became interested in jazz after seeing Art Tatum at the age of six. Tatum was a family friend.

After high school, Cowell studied at Oberlin College and the University of Michigan. During his time at college he played with jazz multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk, which proved to be formative for the pianist. He moved to New York in the mid-1960s.

Later life and career

Cowell played with Marion Brown, Max Roach, Bobby Hutcherson, Clifford Jordan, Harold Land, Sonny Rollins and Stan Getz. Cowell played with trumpeter Charles Moore and others in the Detroit Artist's Workshop Jazz Ensemble in 1965–66.

During the late 1980s, Cowell was part of a regular quartet led by J.J. Johnson. Cowell taught in the Music Department of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

On December 17, 2020, Cowell died at Bayhealth Hospital in Dover, Delaware from hypovolemic shock.


As leader

Freedom Records
ECM Records
Strata-East Records
Galaxy Records
SteepleChase Records
  • 1989: Sienna
  • 1993: Angel Eyes
  • 1994: Departure 2
  • 1994: Games
  • 1995: Setup
  • 1995: Bright Passion
  • 1995: Mandara Blossoms
  • 1995: Live
  • 1997: Hear Me One
  • 2012: It's Time
  • 2013: Welcome to This New World
DIW Records
  • 1987: We Three
  • 1990: Close to You Alone
Other labels

As sideman

With Gary Bartz

With Marion Brown

With Richard Davis

With Sonny Fortune

With Jimmy Heath

With The Heath Brothers

With Stan Getz

With Johnny Griffin

With Bobby Hutcherson

With J.J. Johnson

With Clifford Jordan

With Art Pepper

With Max Roach

With Charles Sullivan

With Charles Tolliver

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