Jimmy Rowles was born in Spokane, Washington, August 19, 1918. Inspired by Andy Kirk, Dick Wilson and Jimmy Lunceford, Jimmy began his professional career in 1935. By 1941, he was playing with Lee and Lester Young and the great Billie Holiday. Establishing himself in jazz, Rowles’ career has brought him recognition and respect as a master jazz pianist and a five-time Grammy nominee.
In the late ’40’s and in New York, he recorded with Billie Holiday and the Youngs, as well as artists, Harry “Sweets” Edison and Benny Carter. He also recorded with Ben Webster and appeared in the documentary, ‘The Brute and the Beautiful’, filmed by John Jeremy and exclusively screened, August 24, 1989, by the L.A. Jazz Society.
According to jazz critic, Leonard Feather, “Long acknowledged as the favorite accompanist of every singer, for whom he has played, Rowles was an artist of consummate harmonic imagination. For many years he specialized in building a repertoire of Ellington and Strayhorn compositions”.
During his long and varied career, Jimmy Rowles was acclaimed for his imaginative, whimsical, sentimental and lyrical style. Deceased May 28, 1996, Jimmy Rowles’ 50+ years in jazz, has left an indelible mark in history.