Joseph Bowie

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Joseph Bowie
Joseph Bowie 05N9859.jpg
Joseph Bowie, Moers Festival 2012
Background information
Born (1953-10-17) 17 October 1953 (age 63)
St Louis, Missouri
United States
Genres Jazz fusion, R&B, jazz, funk
Occupation(s) Musician, bandleader
Instruments Trombone
Labels Black Saint, DIW
Associated acts Defunkt, Black Artists Group, Kosen-Rufu

Joseph Bowie (born October 17, 1953) was greatly influenced by his older brothers Byron (saxophonist & arranger) and older brother Lester Bowie, internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter (Art Ensemble of Chicago). His first international tour was with Oliver Lake B.A.G. (Black Artist Group) in 1971.  During this time in Paris,  Joe worked with other jazz notables; Alan Silva, Frank Wright, Bobby Few and others. He also worked with Dr. John in Montreaux in 1973. 

He began his career in St. Louis, Missouri, and in 1973, Bowie moved to New York City and with the help of Off Broadway Theater impresario Ellen Stuart (La Mama Experimental Theater Company) established La Mama children’s theater on the lower east side of NYC.  During this period 1973–76 Joe performed with Cecil Taylor, Human Arts Ensemble, Nona Hendryx, Leroy Jenkins, Vernon Reid, Stanley Cowell,  Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman & many more jazz personalities in New York at that time.  Joseph was a notable member of the new jazz community in NYC.  In 1976 he moved to Chicago where he became  a Rhythm & Blues specialist, leading bands for Tyrone Davis and other R&B artists.  Returning to NYC in 1978 Joseph began  singing & working with Punk/funk artist James Chance and soon became a fixture on the new wave scene in NY.  Defunkt was born during that time.  During the next 25 years, Defunkt has recorded 15 CD’s and Joseph has become a funk aficionado throughout the world collaborating with funk entities such as Jean-Paul Bourelly & Jamaaladeen Tacuma.  

Joseph has musical colleageus such as David Murray, Don Pullen, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Yuseef Lateef, Adam Rudolph. He performed with the Sam Rivers Big Band and performed regularly with the Oliver Lake Big band & many others. Joe  formed the Defunkt Big Band in 1999 performing in European Jazz Festivals. He shared his “Big Band Funk” arrangements and performance with Jazz Conservatories around the world i.e. Music School Luzern, dir. Ed Partyka, Graz Conservatory, Barbary Coast Ensemble (Dartmouth College), Licks & Brains Big Band, dir. Rolf Delfos, JazzArt Orchestra, dir. Tibor Elferink and the HR Frankfurt Radio Big Band.

Joe Promo.jpg
Joe w-Licks & Brains.jpg
JoeBWRuud Lipps.jpg

In 2003, Joseph moved to Holland where he met old friend Hans Dulfer and was introduced to the Dutch music scene. Joseph performs with Hans and Candy on many occasions and also performs as special guest with the Saskia Laroo Band, Naked Ears, Monsieur Dubois, Emergency Room, Funkateer, Seven Eleven, Almost Three, . In 2014 Joe Produced for ZIP Records the “Sax Pistols Allergy for the U.S.” with lyricist/conceptualist Hilarius Hofstede and Dutch notables, Yuri Honing, Luc Houtcamp, Chazzy Green, Bart Wirtz, Koen Schouten, James White and Defunkt rhythm section of Kim Clarke, Tobias Ralph and Rocco Zifarelli.  Joe continues a long relationship with Dave Doran currently performing, recording and touring. A collaboration began with Adam Rudolph with the Yusef Lateef group and together they later created IGBO, and ancient to the future duet of rhythm & sounds futuristic!. In 2009 he create his dream band Defunkt Mastervolt. Working with Paris based EU super musicians Linley Marthe,  Rocco Zifarelli, (Ennio Morricone), Emma Lamadji, Michael Lecoq and Jon Grandcamp. The new “Defunkt Mastervolt” CD is the highlight of Joe's career. It was released in 2015 on ZIP Records.  International distribution has illuded this masterful recording but Joe hopes this visionary (musical & political) will gain attention soon! Robin van Erven Dorens directed filmed the Documentary “ In Groove We Trust” a story of Joe’s life. ” Currently on the list of Joe's important projects are his work with the music of the Defunkt Big Band a.k.a. "Joe Bowie's Big Band Funk". The first Defunkt Big Band debued in 1999 in NYC at the Texaco Jazz Festival sponsored by the Knitting Factory. Joe continued this dream with a 5 country European tour in 2000. He presents "Big Band Funk" in Music Conservatories and Schools around the world, i.e. Barbary Coast Ensemble, dir. Don Glasgo, Music School Luzern, Switzerland, Graz Conservatory, Austria, dir. Sigi Feigl, Frankfurt Radio Big Band, dir. Ed Partyka "BlueZbone" are currently performing throughout Europe playing St. Louis style Chittlin' Style Funky/Jazzy Blues smartly dressed in costuming recalling the great blues and R&B artists of the 50s and 60s. He is indeed a rare artist today, striving to grow and develop his music and presentation to new and uncharted dimensions. 

Joseph Bowie in France in 1980
Joseph Bowie


As leader[edit]

  • 1976: Joseph Bowie/Oliver Lake (Sackville)
  • 1980: Defunkt/Defunkt Joseph Bowie (Hannibal)
  • 1982: Thermonuclear Sweat/Defunkt Joseph Bowie (Hannibal)
  • 1983: Razor's Edge/Defunkt Joseph Bowie (Hannibal)
  • 1983: Strangling Me With Your Love Revisited/Defunkt Joseph Bowie (Hannibal)
  • 1987: In America/Defunkt Joseph Bowie (Island/Hannibal)
  • 1990: Heroes (DIW)[1]

As sideman[edit]

With Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

With Oliver Lake

With Frank Lowe


External links[edit]