Grammy-nominated musician, producer and world-renowned drummer Quentin E. Baxter presents another amazing three-concert series at the Legends Room – Turtle Point Clubhouse on Kiawah Island. Each individual concert is $25 general admission and starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at www.baxtermusic.com or 843-766-8814. The concert series is sponsored by the Town of Kiawah Island Cultural Events Fund.
The second featured artist of the series is drummer/producer/educator Ulysses Owens, Jr. Heralded as a “powerhouse of a showman” (Glide Magazine), a “legitimate jazz triple threat” (Critical Jazz), and a drummer who “take[s] a back seat to no one” (The New York Times), Ulysses Owens Jr goes the limit in the jazz world and beyond.
Accompanying Owens in his presentation of “Ellington and Beyond” will be trumpeter Alphonso Horne, pianist Liston Gregory III, bassist Phil Norris, and vocalist Kiaya Cash.
“Playing in the Southeast is a rare occurrence for me though I am from there. Charleston and Savannah are two of my favorite cities in the world. …There are so many music lovers in the Lowcountry and I’m honored for the invitation(s) to showcase my band there. I am also honored to work with Quentin Baxter and be part of the great presentation of live music he has created there,” he said.
Owens, a native of Jacksonville, FL, started playing drums at just two years old. His mother, Gwendolyn, enrolled him in classical piano lessons. In high school, Ulysses attended the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where he became part of the school’s inaugural jazz program and graduated with a full scholarship to the Juilliard School.
Owens is also a graduate of the Juilliard’s inaugural Jazz Studies Program.
From GRAMMY-award winning performances with Christian McBride’s acclaimed trio and big band to world tours with Kurt Elling and Joey Alexander, Owens’s artistic command of percussion has earned him positions in some of the most successful jazz ensembles of the 21st century. Owens’ reverence for tradition distinctly manifests in his straight-away playing style, but it is the versatility of his talent – his unique ability to manipulate texture and create penetrating musical shapes – that attracts the attention of heavy hitters in jazz. His performance catalog includes collaborations with Nicholas Payton, Wynton Marsalis, Monty Alexander, Dianne Schuur, Russell Malone, Renee Fleming and Mulgrew Miller, just to name a few.
A burgeoning force in the industry, Owens has been named a Rising Star by DownBeat’s Critics Poll for five consecutive years. He is a recipient of the 2013 ASCAP Plus Award, a gold medal winner of the 2014 Global Music Awards and a 2015 Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing Award honoree.
Still, most notable of Owens’ accomplishments are his performances on the 2010 Grammy Award winning Kurt Elling live album, Dedicated to You, and the 2012 Grammy Award winning Christian McBride Big Band album, The Good Feeling. His work with Joey Alexander and the Christian McBride Trio has also received recognition by the Academy, garnering Grammy Award nominations for “My Favorite Things,” “Out Here,” and “Live at the Village Vanguard.”
At the heart of Owens’s work is a passion for creation and the desire to reach new audiences. On and off stage, music emanates from every inch of his being, and no performance goes unmarked by Owens’ signature smile. Owens is a gifted bandleader, claiming three successful albums of his own (It’s Time for U, Unanimous, and Onward and Upward) and three self-produced albums with the New Century Jazz Quintet (Time is Now, In Case You Missed Us, and Arise), a skillful group he co-leads with pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi. This band-first philosophy reassures Owens that the conversation with the audience remains fluid and focused, another stamp of his seasoned expertise and professional sophistication.
Music education is also a huge passion of Owens’s career. As Founder and Artistic Director of Don’t Miss A Beat, his family non-profit organization in Jacksonville, FL, and Professor in the Jazz Studies Program at The Juilliard School, Owens continues to make a great impact in the area of Jazz Education.
There is hardly a quiet moment in the life of Ulysses Owens Jr, but as long as audiences keep turning to music to fuel hearts and souls, this performer, producer, and educator will continue sharing his talents as fully and graciously as he always does.