Stanley Cowell can best be described as an intellectual pianist. From his early classical roots to collaborations with premier jazz artists to his creative solo career, Cowell’s music has been defined by integrity and taste. With an agile left hand and a relentlessly imaginative approach to standards and his own compositions, his solo concerts are events to be savored.
Stanley Cowell, was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1941. He studied piano there with Mary Belle Shealy and Elmer Gertz, and pipe organ with J. Harold Harder. By the age of fifteen, he was a featured soloist with the Toledo Youth Orchestra in Kabelevsky's Piano Concerto No. 3, a church organist/choir director, and a budding jazz pianist.
Cowell's formal training in music has been quite extensive: a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. He also has additional undergraduate study at the Mozarteum Akademie, Salzburg, Austria, and graduate study at Wichita State University and the University of Southern California. While at U.S.C., 1963-64, he performed Gershwin's Concerto in F with the Burbank Symphony Orchestra, and played jazz in the Los Angeles area with Curtis Amy's and Ray Crawford's bands.
After completing his Masters at Michigan in 1966, Cowell headed for New York City where he worked for such musical artists as Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Herbie Mann, Miles Davis, Stan Getz and the Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land groups. For several years he was part of Charles Tolliver's Music Inc., with whom he formed the innovative musician-owned record company, Strata-East, in 1971.