As a musician Ben Bowen has worn many hats. Better-known around Toronto as a horn player with bands like Great Aunt Ida, Ronley Teper, the Book of Gnomes, and A Northern Chorus (among the 30-odd artists with whom he has recorded), in the last few years he has spent a good deal of his time singing and playing music to and with young children, and even opened for Fred Penner in 2011.
A poet long before he tried his hand at serious songwriting, Ben recently waded headlong into a new stream as a songwriter. His music is necessarily thoughtful and lyrics-driven, reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn or Cat Stevens, and exploring the interwoven themes of loss, heartache, and environmental collapse.
An in-demand horn player with a more-than 10-year history of working primarily in pop and folk in the Toronto area, he has played and recorded as a trumpeter with a number of notable Canadian musicians, including Great Aunt Ida
, Old World Vulture
, Ronley Teper
, Lily Frost
, Brian MacMillan
, Drew Smith
, A Northern Chorus, and Hamilton's Danny Medakovic
. As of this writing, he has been involved in 30 studio albums
, with other projects perpetually somewhere in the pipes.
Growing up listening to Bruce Cockburn, Vivaldi, the Beatles, Cat Stevens, and Prokofiev (among some of his favourites), Ben quickly developed the skill of playing along by ear to virtually anything he heard, so that today he is equally at home playing pop, jazz, folk, funk, or rock music, and can be thrown into almost any playing situation and blend perfectly. Due to that versatility, he has had the opportunity to perform all over Toronto in all kinds of contexts. Ben's playing is characterized by a keen sense of melody coupled with the expert ability to listen and react with superb taste to whatever he hears.
Here's what people have to say about Ben:
"Ben Bowen is one of the best and most tasteful trumpeters in Canada. He has the unusual ability to play with big ears and a warm supportive tone while maintaining a strong presence and bold sound."
~ Christine Bougie (guitarist)
"Ben is one of those musicians who feels music so innately that it seems effortless..endlessly creative and ruthless in his quest to realize his ideas..not to mention some of the best ears i've ever come across.."
~ Brian MacMillan (songwriter)
"Ben Bowen's lines are as fluid and gorgeous as a river rushing through an autumn wood."
~ Dan Goldman (songwriter)
"Bowen is one of those players that gives you goosebumps with every note. He is smooth like butter but knows how to melt it on toast when the music needs to burn."
~ Ronley Teper (songwriter)
"Ben is one of the most professional musicians I have ever worked with... He has a great ear and can really play. He has taught me many great things on the bandstand over the years."
~ Neal Davis (bassist, composer)
"Ben's trumpet sound is warm and sits perfectly wherever it lands."
~ Dave Marcotte, Polyester Heart (acoustic pop)
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