Born: April 21, 1922 Primary Instrument: Guitar
BORN IN LAUREL, Mississippi, Mundell left home at the age of thirteen. After working in Nashville, he found his way to Bourbon Street in New Orleans and the beginning of his jazz career. While serving in World War Il, he met the influential John Hammond, who introduced him to Ray McKinley. Mundell worked with McKinley’s band for a year and a half, developing his distinctive instrumental style, and then moved on to work in New York at Café Society and stints at the Village Vanguard and The Embers, among others. Mundell worked with Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Helen Humes and Charles Mingus, to name but a few. These gigs overlapped with an early morning TV show at NBC with Cy Coleman, “A Date in Manhattan,” and later “The Kate Smith Hour” with Stan Getz, Doc Severinsen, and Kai Winding.
FROM THE EARLY FIFTIES to the mid-Sixties, he was an active performer, working with George Duvivier on bass and Ed Shaughnessy on drums in Dave Garroway’s “Today Show” studio band. He also played with the extraordinary pianist Hank Jones when they both worked in the NBC and CBS orchestras of the early Fifties. After seventeen years at NBC as a guitarist and arranger, Lowe was transferred to the News and Special Events Department to work as a composer.
MUNDELL MOVED TO LOS ANGELES, California, Christmas 1965�actually, he left to visit some friends, and never went back to New York! He met Jackie Cooper, then-head of Screen Gems, and began the West Coast phase of his career composing music for some of their television and film properties. Lowe augmented his TV and film work with making his own LPs as well as two successful projects with noted singers Sarah Vaughan (‘After Hours”) and Carmen McRae (‘Bittersweet”).
EVEN THOUGH HE HAD made special appearances with Peggy Lee and the White House, toured Japan with Benny Carter several times, and was a regular performer at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Mundell found he was spending more time writing than playing, which he found frustrating. He made up his mind to turn that around and, during the 1980s, he stepped out of the studio world of film and television and returned to performing, the first love of his long and rich musical career.
MUNDELL'S CURRENT SCHEDULE is no less active. In the last few years he has traveled the globe as a concert performer, worked the States with his own quintet, and has made several trips to New York to work with Ron Carter, Al Foster, Bill Mays, and Ray Drummond. He tours with the André Previn Trio (composed of Previn, the late Ray Brown, and Lowe), as well as the Great Guitars with the late Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, and Tal Farlow. Mundell also has been busy in recording studios lately, having recorded two albums for Telarc with the André Previn Trio, one for Phillips with Kiri Te Kanawa, and two albums for Fresh Sounds with Teté Montoliu.
Guitar Moods, 1950
Mundell Lowe Conducts New Music of Wilder, 1952
A Grand Night for Swinging, 1952 Mundell Lowe Quintet, 1959
Mundell Lowe Quintet, 1953
Porgy and Bess, 1954
TV Action Jazz, 1957
Midnight Food, 1960
CHARLIE PARKER RECORDS
Patter of Evil, 1961
The Original, 1961
WARNER BROS. RECORDS
Billy Jack (movie soundtrack), 1972
FAMOUS DOOR RECORDS
California Guitar, 1974
Mundell Lowe, Guitar Player, 1976
The Incomparable, 1978
Mundell Lowe Presents Transit West, 1984
Paradise Café (Barry Manilow), 1984
Teté Montohu With Mundell Lowe, 1990
Mundell Lowe Teté Montohu, 1990
TELARC RECORDS (with the André Previn Trio)
Old Friends, 1991
PHILLIPS RECORDS (André Previn Trio)
Kin Sidetracks (with Kin Te Kanawa), 1991
Showboat (with André Previn), 1995
The Return of the Great Guitars, 1996
Jazz at the Musikverein (André Previn Trio), 1997
Second Time Around (with Sal Salvador), 1998
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