TERRY LOWER BIO
Pianist Terry Lower has been a fixture on the Michigan jazz scene for over 30 years. 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 swings hard and has great command of the keyboard.
Terry Lower was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. “My mother is a pianist who used to demonstrate sheet music in stores back in the 1940s. She started teaching me piano when I was six. My mother and I both played piano and organ in the Pentecostal church, my brother played trumpet and my dad sang and played guitar. There was a lot of music around the household and in our daily lives.” Terry played his first professional (paid) engagement as a solo pianist at the Hart Hotel for the Rotary Club when he was just 13. “I only knew a few standard songs by memory 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 and played in the high school jazz band, even writing a few big band arrangements which were played at their annual “Band Follies.”
When he was 19, Terry moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music where he studied arranging and composition as well as performance with master pianist, Ray Santisi. Upon his return to Michigan, Terry continued honing his piano skills while playing at Bobby’s Jazz Club, the only jazz club in Battle Creek. It was not long before he started getting calls to work at other venues throughout Detroit, Southern Michigan and beyond.
Since that time, Terry has kept very busy as a greatly in-demand sideman as well as a featured soloist who has worked with many jazz greats who have come through the Michigan area. Among the many well-known 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 played 3 different stints on Carnival and Costa Cruise Lines. Having worked for over 25 years in the Detroit area as the main pianist with saxophonist Larry Nozero’s quartet, Terry wrote a lot of original compositions and special arrangements for that group and gained a lot of recognition in the Detroit area. That quartet also recorded many of Terry’s arrangements, including “Harlem Nocturne” at the Detroit-Montreux Jazz Festival. After hearing that recording, 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 his septet for 2005’s Step By Step cd, playing piano and contributing original compositions and arrangements, showing his impressive development as a writer and arranger. 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 his originals.
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. Terry's latest writing projects include full symphony arrangements for vocalist Edye Evans Hyde, who he has performed with for many years. The debut of some of these orchestrations were performed to a packed house at a concert in May, 2016 with Terry’s quartet, Edye and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
When asked to name some of his inspirations, Terry mentioned the piano playing of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock and Monty Alexander, and the writings of Horace Silver and Benny Carter. “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.” 0
In 2016 Terry was the West Michigan Jazz Society's 'Musician Of The Year'
Terry's Brand New Christmas/Holiday CD 'Sleigh Ride' was released in July, 2019, with Terry/piano, Ray Tini/bass, Larry Ochiltre/drums and vocalist Edye Evans Hyde. This CD is all Christmas/Holiday songs with all arrangements written by Terry.
Voted by the West Michigan Jazz Society as their 2016 Musician Of The Year, Terry Lower is a virtuoso jazz pianist with his own sound. A renowned fixture on the Michigan jazz scene for over 35 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. Also a prolific writer and arranger, Terry's latest writing projects include full symphony arrangements for vocalist Edye Evans Hyde, who he has performed with for many years. The debut of some of these orchestrations were performed to a packed house at a concert in May, 2016 with Terry’s quartet, Edye and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
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."
Terry Lower Trio and
Vocalist Edye Evans Hyde
Pianist Terry Lower and vocalist Edye Evans Hyde have shared a variety of musical experiences and created a swinging, exciting sound while performing together during the past 25 years.
From small jazz groups, to big bands and large symphony orchestras, their combined talents include appearances at jazz festivals, on cruise ships, and clubs and concert halls in the USA, Europe, and Asia.
Joined by Jim Ryan or Larry Ochiltree on drums and Ray Tini on bass, this group loves to perform their unique arrangements on jazz standards and songs by the composers of the Great American Songbook.