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terry lower: Bio


Terry Lower is a virtuoso jazz pianist with his own sound. A fixture on the Michigan jazz scene for years, he can be heard at his best on his Four Trios Vol. 1 and 2 CDs. Also earning the reputation as a wonderful accompanist, Terry played 2 Jazz tours in Italy with vocalists Betty Joplin and Edye Evans Hyde. While he has been a greatly in-demand sideman, working with such artists as Benny Golson, Frank Morgan, David “Fathead” Newman and Kevin Mahogany, it is at the head of his own trio and quintet that Terry’s playing and writing are best showcased. Inspired by Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander and Art Tatum,  Terry Lower is an exciting and fun pianist who swings hard and adds his own twist to the straight ahead jazz that he loves.

- Pianist/Composer

 After studying composing/arranging and performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Terry returned to Michigan and for over 30 years has been active on the Jazz scene both here and abroad performing and/or recording with many Jazz greats including Frank Morgan, David “Fathead” Newman, Bobby Shew, Hendrik Meurkins, Larry Nozero, Kevin Mahogany and Benny Golson to name a few. As a “sideman” for a variety of different groups including performances with Eddie Daniels, Jennifer Holiday, Bernadette Peters, The Nelson Riddle and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, Terry has been getting more recognition in recent years as the leader of his own Jazz Trio and Septet including performances at the “Michigan Jazz Festival” and the renowned “Detroit/Montreux International Jazz Festival.” In Europe, Terry toured Italy as part of the “Centro Jazz Torino” concert tour in 2006 with vocalist/Grammy nominee Betty Joplin and again in 2008 with the Edye Evans Hyde Sextet. Also a prolific writer, many of Terry’s original compositions have been published and recorded on numerous CD’s including Terry's Septet 2005 release “Step By Step” and his 1st Piano Trio CD's (2009), “4 Trios-vol.1 & vol. 2.”


 A virtuoso jazz pianist with his own sound, Terry Lower swings hard, has complete control of the keyboard, and is consistently creative. He has been a fixture on the Michigan jazz scene for years and he is both a dazzling soloist and a superior accompanist. One listen to any of his performances on his Four Trios Vol. 1 and 2 CDs makes it immediately obvious that he is an unsung musical giant.

 Terry Lower was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. “My mother was a pianist who used to demonstrate sheet music in stores back in the 1940s. She started me off on the piano when I was six. My Dad sang and played guitar although not professionally and there was a lot of music around the household.” Terry played his first engagement as a solo pianist at the Hart Hotel for the Rotary Club when he was just 11. “I only knew around four songs so I kept repeating those songs for a couple of hours at different tempos!” While in high school, he often worked locally with different jazz combos.

 When he was 19, Terry moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music where he studied arranging and composition. After a year and a half, he discontinued his classes and centered on his piano playing, studying privately with Ray Santisi. Returning to Michigan, Terry continued honing his piano skills while playing at Bobby’s, the only jazz club in Battle Creek. It was not long before he started getting calls to work at other venues throughout Detroit and Southern Michigan.

 Since that time, Terry has kept very busy as a greatly in-demand sideman who has worked with many jazz greats who have come through the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek-Detroit area. Among the artists who he has performed with are Benny Golson, Frank Morgan, David “Fathead Newman, Bobby Shew, Hendrik Meurkens and Kevin Mahogany. He also worked with the big bands of Jimmy Dorsey and Nelson Riddle, and has performed pops concerts with Eddie Daniels, Bernadette Peters, and Jennifer Holiday. Terry visited Italy on tours with singers Betty Joplin (2006) and Edye Evans Hyde (2008) and worked extensively in the Detroit area with saxophonist Larry Nozero for over 25 years. When that group played and recorded Terry’s arrangement of “Harlem Nocturne” at the Detroit-Montreux Jazz Festival, the song’s composer Earl Hagen sent a note to Larry to tell him that it was the most innovative arrangement of his tune that he had ever heard.

 As a leader, Terry Lower recorded with a septet for 2005’s Step By Step, playing piano and contributing the arrangements. In 2009, Terry recorded 4 Trios, Vol. 1 & 2 with four different bassists and drummers, some of the best musicians in Michigan. It is the finest recorded showcase of his piano playing so far, featuring his brilliant playing on standards and a few of his originals. It also shows his impressive development as a writer and arranger.


When asked to name some of his inspirations, Terry Lower mentioned the piano playing of Monty Alexander, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum, and the writing of Horace Silver and Benny Carter.

 In recent times, Terry has been performing in Michigan at concerts, jazz clubs, festivals and recording sessions. He often plays with and arranges for his own trio and quintet. He has also been writing symphony arrangements for Edye Evans Hyde, who he has performed with for many years.

 “Piano jazz trios are my favorite type of group to play in and I really like standards, straight ahead swinging and acoustic jazz. There are so many great jazz tunes and every song can be changed and played many different ways. I like to put my own twist and arrangements in the music and share the fun I have in playing this music with audiences.”


Terry Lower Septet

Since the release of their first CD, "Step By Step" (2005), the Terry Lower Septet has already earned the reputation as being one of Michigan's best jazz ensembles with each musician bringing many years of seasoned talent and varied performance experienes from around the globe including Rob McConnell & Pavarotti (bassist Ray Tini), The Lincoln Center & Carnegie Hall (trumpeter Rob Smith), The "Temptations" (drummer Jim Ryan) and pianist/leader Terry Lower's (2006/2008 "Centro-Jazz-Torino" concert tours of Italy). Combining some of Terry's jazz/latin-jazz original compositions and unique musical arrangements on jazz standards, this group "dazzled" the audience during their 2006 debut performance at the renowned "Detroit International Jazz Festival" and has captivated those who've heard them during their many performances since 2006 at the "Michigan Jazz Festival."