Jawanza Kobie would simply like to be known as a composer in the truest sense of the word. Ever since he was young boy he idolized the music of Beethoven, George Gershwin, Aaron Copeland and began learning to notate his compositions at nine years of age. Born and raised in West Philadelphia, he started taking piano lessons in his neighborhood at age six after his mother discovered that he could replicate on his own what his older brother had been taught in his piano lessons right after his brother had finished practicing.
As a teenager, he continued his education in music at the famed Settlement Music School in Philadelphia where he was first introduced to structure and the rules of composition. At this time the musical influences that he heard on the radio and records of the day were impossible to ignore. Jazz music had always been a dominant force in his development ever since his father first introduced him to it at a very young age. However, funk, soul, pop, rock, and even folk made a major and indelible impact on this musical young man. His early influences began with Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, and Bobby Timmons in jazz piano and later he discovered Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, the great Art Tatum and others. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Motown, Atlantic, and Stax recording artist, Sly and the Family Stone as well as Elmer Bernstein, Quincy Jones and other film composers were and still are an inspiration. His current influences have grown to include Hip-Hop beats. He has written music for the “Freedom Theatre” (in Philadelphia) plays and musicals and toured briefly with their productions.