|Stanley Cowell Salutes Tatum|
This past October  Toledo native Stanley Cowell returned home as part of The AALP’s Legend’s Weekend. The significance of Mr. Cowell’s appearance cannot be overstated
Mr. Cowell’s appearance was historically significant not just because we were marking the 100th birthday of Mr. Art Tatum, but it was important to heighten the awareness of two Toledo natives whose international reputations and talent are both immeasurable.
Cowell, in fact, lived just blocks from Tatum on Woodland Avenue and, as a child, he experienced, firsthand, the genius of Tatum as Mr. Tatum played in the Cowell family home.
Stanley Surprises Audience!
The Genesis of Genius
Mr. Cowell was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1941. He studied piano 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.
Mr. Cowell's formal training in music is extensive: a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan. He also has additional undergraduate study at the Mozarteum Akademie, Salzburg, Austria, and graduate study at Wichita State University.
In 1966, Stanley headed for the Big Apple and found himself working with jazz legends like Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Herbie Mann, Miles Dave, Stan Getz,and so many more. Quite frankly, talent and hard work seems to attract the right people, and Stanley - armed with a gift - honed his skills with the greats!
Mr Cowell is an extraordinary artist whose clarity and brilliance is ever-evolving. During a ten year period [1974 -1984] he toured, recorded and conducted workshops throughout the Americas, Europe and Japan.
Cowell currently heads the Department of Jazz at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts. He has also taught at the New England Conservatory in Boston,and was a professor at Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx, New York. On the day after this year's Tatum Tribute Mr. Cowell conducted a workshop for Toledo area students.
Like many others, we greatly appreciate Mr. Cowell's talent, but the concert only told part of the story. At the conclusion of the concert, Stanley agreed to sign commemorative posters bearing his and Mr. Tatum's likeness. Watching him interact with well-wishers and autograph seekers even though the line, at times, seemed unending, we learned of his true appreciation of people. Whether he had met them before or not, he just a little more of himself to each person. It was uncanny, he found a way to embrace each person individually, even after a grueling two-hour performance. Frequently a man is measured by his talent, but we also measure a man by how he treats others. In both cases, Stanley is a giant.
During his 2009 Tribute to Tatum, Mr. Cowell was both engaging and enlightening. That evening, Stanley stretched his soul, as well as, his Steinway to demonstrate and represent the genius of Tatum and -of course - his own.