Multi-instrumentalist Mwata Bowden was born in Memphis, but has his roots in the Chicago jazz scene. After training under legendary band director Walter Dyett at DuSable High School, touring with the Chi-lites, an R&B band, and developing a reputation as a riveting multi-instrumentalist, Bowden established a jazz scene at the University of Chicago, where he is currently the Director of Jazz Ensembles. His 20+ year partnership with Tatsu Aoki’s Miyumi Project, helped create an amalgam of American jazz with Japanese Taiko, and as a member of Edward Wilkerson’s Eight Bold Souls, Bowden has performed at jazz and blues festivals throughout Chicago and around the world.
As a second generation member and former chair of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Bowden helped evolve the concept of collective improvisation through its signature band, the Great Black Music Ensemble. He is a long time educator who understands how learning and applying the skills of improvisation can provide lifelong benefits for youth—from Chicago Public School elementary and high school students to the AACM School to the many Jazz X-Tet students and alumni of the University of Chicago as well as of workshops he has presented worldwide. In 2013, Bowden received the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Hero award for his advocacy for and cultivation of a strong and vibrant jazz community in Chicago and in the world.
In case of rain, the event takes place inside the MCA’s Kovler Atrium.
Our annual summer performance series highlights artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned jazz community.