Mundell Lowe

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Mundell Lowe
Birth name Mundell Lowe
Born (1922-04-21) April 21, 1922 (age 95)
Origin Laurel, Mississippi
Genres Jazz, film and television soundtracks
Occupation(s) Guitarist, composer, conductor
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1950–present
Labels RCA, Riverside, Warner Bros., Telarc

Mundell Lowe (born April 21, 1922) is an American jazz guitarist, composer, and conductor who has performed with many notable jazz and popular musicians. He produced film and TV scores in the 1970s, such as the Billy Jack soundtrack and music for Starsky and Hutch, and worked with André Previn's Trio in the 1990s.

Life and career[edit]

Lowe was born in Shady Grove, near Laurel, Mississippi, on April 21, 1922. In the 1930s he played country music and Dixieland jazz.[1] He later played with big bands and orchestras, and on television in New York City. In the 1960s, Lowe composed music for films and television in New York City and Los Angeles.[1] He has performed and/or recorded with Billie Holiday, Bobby Darin, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Helen Humes, Roy Buchanan, Charles Mingus, Stan Getz, Doc Severinsen, Kai Winding, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, Barry Manilow, André Previn, Ray Brown, Kiri Te Kanawa, Tete Montoliu, Harry Belafonte, Lloyd Wells, Jim Ferguson, Ray Reach and many others.[2] Lowe was responsible for introducing the pianist Bill Evans to producer Orrin Keepnews resulting in Evan's first recordings under his own leadership.[3]

Lowe is a regular featured performer at the annual W. C. Handy Music Festival and a member of the W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s Lowe was also a well-respected teacher at Dick Grove Music Workshop, later the Grove School of Music, in Studio City, California, one of the top professional level music schools in the world. He also taught twelve-tone composition at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood California during the same period of time, as well as guitar and film scoring.

In 1998, he was inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame, and in 1999, Millsaps College in Jackson, conferred an honorary Doctorate of Arts on Mr. Lowe in recognition of his lifetime of outstanding musical accomplishments.

On July 17, 2009, Mundell Lowe returned home to Laurel, the city he ran away from in 1938. In recognition of a lifetime of musical achievement he was given a key to the city and honored by the Mayor, Melvin Mack, who proclaimed July 18, 2009, Mundell Lowe Day in Laurel.

Lowe is married to the singer Betty Bennett, and appeared on her 1990 recording The Song Is You, with Bob Cooper, George Cables, Monty Budwig and Roy McCurdy.[4]


As leader[edit]

Film soundtracks[edit]

TV scores[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Tony Bennett

With Gene Bianco

  • Harp, Skip & Jump (RCA Camden, 1958)

With Ruth Brown

With Benny Carter

With Rosemary Clooney

With Al Cohn

With Sammy Davis Jr.

  • Mood to Be Wooed (Decca, 1957)

With Blossom Dearie

With Don Elliott and Rusty Dedrick

With Jimmy Forrest

With Ella Fitzgerald

With Johnny Hodges

With Billie Holiday

With J. J. Johnson

With Quincy Jones

With Barry Manilow

With Herbie Mann

With Carmen McRae

With Joe Mooney

  • The Greatness of Joe Mooney (Columbia, 1963)

With Charlie Parker

  • The Legendary Rockland Palace Concert, Volume 1 (Jazz Classics, 1952)

With André Previn

With Johnnie Ray

  • "Cry" (Okeh, 1951)

With Lalo Schifrin

With Shirley Scott

With Sarah Vaughan

With Ben Webster

With Lloyd Wells

  • This One's For Charlie (Azica 2000)


  1. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Mundell Lowe: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Varga, G. Mundell Lowe: Man of Few Notes, Many Stories, JazzTimes, December 2008
  3. ^ Myers, M.,Mundell Lowe Interview, JazzWax, January 14, 2008.
  4. ^ Interview: Betty Bennett (Part 2) JazzWax. Retrieved 10 June 2013.

External links[edit]