Mundell Lowe

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Mundell Lowe in Saarbrücken 2000

Mundell James Lowe (born April 21, 1922 in Laurel , Mississippi , † December 2, 2017 in San Diego ) was an American jazz guitarist and arranger of swing and hard bop .

Live and act

Mundell Lowe played with Abbie Brunies in New Orleans in the mid-1930s , then with Pee Wee King in 1939 in Nashville . 1943–1945 Lowe was drafted. He then played with Ray McKinley 1946-1947, Dave Martin 1947-1949, Ellis Larkins and Red Norvo 1949. Between 1950 and 1958 he worked as a studio musician for NBC , but also with Charlie Parker ( Bird Is Free , 1952), the Sauter -Finegan Orchestra , with Billy Taylor and Ruby Braff and at times had its own quartet. From 1959 he also wrote film music (to be heard on the LP TV Action Jazz ) and worked to a large extent as an arranger .

In 1961 he worked on the album Carmen McRae Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics . In the 1960s he played Benny Carter's album Further Definitions . He also worked with Jimmy Forrest and the Quincy Jones Orchestra . In 1972, Lowe wrote the theme music for the classic film What You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask by Woody Allen . After it became quiet around him in the 1970s, Lowe had more frequent appearances again in the 1980s and 90s (including with his wife Betty Bennett and his band Transitwest ); During this time he was on tour as a soloist, after 1990 he accompanied the pianist André Previn on several recordings. In 2000, on a tour of Germany, the CD Mundell's Moods was created with the harmonica player and vibraphonist Hendrik Meurkens .

Over the course of his career, Lowe made recordings with musicians Steve Allen , Les Brown , Benny Goodman , Urbie Green , Johnny Guarnieri , Johnny Hodges , Bobby Jaspar , Richie Kamuca , Ray McKinley , Tony Scott , Billy Taylor, Mary Lou Williams and accompanied the singers Chris Connor , Billie Holiday , Lena Horne , Helen Humes , Carmen McRae , Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington .

Although Mundell Lowe's record work is relatively narrow and unknown, Morton and Cook call him "one of the most original guitarists and composers ever" . Credit goes to Lowe for drawing producer Orrin Keepnews' attention to the young pianist Bill Evans in 1956 .

Between 1960 and 1980 he also wrote numerous compositions for film and television, including 1971 for the film production Billy Jack , a western drama by director Tom Laughlin .


Mundell Lowe celebrated his 93rd birthday on April 21, 2015 with a concert in Vienna's Jazzland .


As a leader

  • 1955: The Mundell Lowe Quartet (Riverside / OJC)
  • 1957: A Grand Night For Swinging (Riverside / OJC)
  • 1957: Blues For Tomorrow (sampler with Lowe, Eat Coast All Stars, Sonny Rollins, Bobby Jaspar, OJC)
  • 1959: Mundell Lowe & His All Stars: TV Action Jazz (Fresh Sound Rec.) With Donald Byrd, Jimmy Cleveland, Herbie Mann, Tony Scott, Eddie Costa
  • 1977: Souvenirs (Jazz Alliance, 1977–1992)
  • 1989: Sweet 'n' Lovely (Fresh Sound Records) with Tete Montoliu
  • 2000: Mundell's Moods (Nagel-Heyer)

As a sideman (selection)

  • Benny Carter: Further Definitions (Impulse !, 1961–1966)
  • Benny Carter: Live And Well in Japan (OJC, 1977)
  • Charlie Parker: The Legendary Rockland Palace Concert, Volume 1 (Jazz Classics, 1952)
  • André Previn: Uptown (1990), Old Friends (1991), Jazz At Musikverein (1995), Show Boat (1996) (Telarc)
  • Sarah Vaughan: After Hours (Roulette, 1961) with George Duvivier
  • Ben Webster: The Soul Of Ben Webster (Verve, 1957-1958)


Individual evidence

  1. all music guide
  2. George Varga: Mundell Lowe dead at 95. Guitar great played with Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Everly Brothers and more. The San Diego Union Ribute, December 2, 2017, accessed December 3, 2017 .

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