'The who, what, where, when, why and how I got to be involved in music.'
(A quick word of warning, this is my long biography. For a shorter concise version click HERE (Coming soon.)
Who am I?
My name, as you’ve probably already worked out, is Ben Lowman. I’m a saxophonist, who triples on flute & clarinet, based in the north of England, specifically just outside of Leeds.
What, where, when & how did I get into music?
The short answers are: my dad, Devon, the year 1999 & because of a select few records which I adored… If you’d like to know more, read on.
My dad has always been a big record collector, ever since i can remember and continues to be! Whilst growing up in Devon, I was exposed to all sorts of genres of music, mainly due to the ever growing collection of CD’s. I heard a wide variety of artists including Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd (to my mums despair!), Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Muddy Waters, Michael Brecker, David Bowie, ELO, DJ John… the list goes on. For me, there were a couple of records which stood out, they were ‘Spirit of Django’ & ‘Years Apart’ by Martin Taylor as well as ‘As We Speak,’ by David Sanborn. These albums, among others, founded the some of the roots of my love for music & eventually made me pursue music as a career.
I started playing the saxophone, around the age of 10, shortly after giving up violin (it wasn’t for me!). & performed and practiced in various ensembles through my school years. This including the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra (DYJO) as well as after various after school wind orchestras & saxophone choirs etc. Once I started becoming a little more proficient, I started playing with college big bands, wind orchestras & various other wind ensembles. I also started ‘sitting in’ with semi-professional big bands as well as performing regularly with professional function outfits & busking around the south-west of England. This was vital experience for me, as it made me realise it was possible to ‘live the dream.’
The majority of my musical training in my earlier years was in Devon. After studying music and B-tec National Diploma in music at Exeter College, I auditioned for Leeds College of Music and attended between 2008 to 2011. This was a real learning curve as I was able to study under the direction of some of the best players & educators in the UK. This really helped me to develop, my trade. Some of the musicians I studied under included: Joel Purnell, Jim Corry, Jamie Taylor, Mark Donlon & Kathy Dyson. My education under the direction of these musicians, really aided my development and have enable me to work as a musician - something which I cannot thank them enough for. I graduated from LCoM with first class honors in 2011, and have since met and worked with a variety of musicians & bands from the northern & national scene including: Al Wood, Graham Hearne, Sam Dunn, Kate Peters, Garry Jackson, Kevin Holbrough as well as recently working in the pit for the touring west end version of Avenue Q.
Currently my schedule is evenly split between performing and educating. As well as regularly performing at private events with function bands such as ‘Two For The Road,’ & ‘Groove On Top,’ I have also worked as part of theatre shows, as well as doing pit-work./ Examples are ‘The Unforgettable Show’ & ‘The Karpenters’ As well as a personal highlight of playing in the pit for being the touring west end show of ‘Avenue Q.’
Alongside performing in function bands, I also run, arrange & compose music for my own creative projects as well as performing in other peoples too. These including my ‘Django Project,’ ‘The Unity Organ Quintet,’ 'Simon Read Octet,' & ‘The Perpetual Motion Machine.’ YouTube footage of my bands has had very credible feedback from artists including: Martin Taylor MBE and Corrine Bailey Rae. (See quotes)
As well as performing, arranging and composing, I also have a strong educational roll around the Yorkshire music scene. I teach privately from home, as well as peripatetically at Harrogate Grammar School & Leeds Artforms. I take a regular Jazz improvising classes at HEART Café in Leeds alongside the fabulous Sam Dunn. Lastly, I’ve worked with North Yorkshire Music Action Group (NYMAZ) & Jazz North to complete several strings of workshops for various rural primary schools in North Yorkshire, including: Sand Hutton, Goathland Primary School & Gillamoor Primary School - all of which were a great success!