Mike Cowie has...
produced custom designed shows and special music for
produced music CDs
been heard on recordings and/or live with
written and produced music for films and TV
Mike Cowie is a trumpet player, singer and songwriter in a funk/jazz/blues style.
After the success of his Big Night Out CD, which brought Mike's original jazz/funk based music to audiences in Canada and Europe. Mike has followed up with the release of his latest CD Lucid Blue. A stunning fusion of Miles Davis' In a Silent Way period with hip-hop beats and electronica. Ten new Mike Cowie originals, combine computer/DJ soundscapes with his stunning trumpet tone. The funky beats, beautiful melodies and sophisticated chord progressions create a sound that is new, fresh and timeless.
"The sound that I hear in my head involves many different rhythms that lock in with each other, and harmonies that work horizontally as well as vertically so that my melodies can have the right ambience. I then build new bass sounds, process drum loops, layer my synths and samplers to give the music room to move."
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, one of the most fertile areas of the world for producing highly original and creative musicians, Mike, at the age of 16, began sitting in with the legendary Bucky Adams, learning the art of improvisation. "Bucky was always throwing new musical concepts at me, tempos I couldn't play yet, tunes I should know and didn't; he was always telling me to 'play less notes!'"
Mike spent a year at Dalhousie University where, as a first year student, he formed and conducted the Dalhousie University stage band. His first paying gig, however, was with The Prime Minister of the Blues, Dutch Mason. The gig was at the Waverly Fire Hall where they performed for a motorcycle gang. "When I played with the greatest Blues band in Canadian history, it changed my life!"
"I got to work with these American cats who were specialists in specific styles, and absolute monsters at playing Jazz. I played with B3 player Jeff Stole and ex Buddy Rich guitarist George Prichard in Milwaukee, Harry James and Glen Miller lead trumpet player Andy Hagan in Atlanta, Weasel Parker from the Count Basie band in Cleveland and harmonica player Sugar Blue from the Rolling Stones in Chicago."
At 19, Mike moved to Toronto to study music at Humber College. Multicultural Toronto was a great place for a young musician. "I'd be playing for a Jewish wedding one night and in a Calypso band from Trinidad the next. There was so much music it was unbelievable."
Mike toured across Canada, New York City and Boston and freelanced in Toronto. "During this time a bunch of us would get together and play in this after-hours club. To get in you had to get past the doorman, walk through a clothing store — that was never open in the day — through another door and at the end of the hallway was this nightclub. We were there for 2 years every Sunday from 1am to 6am and developed a huge following." The group became Vertical Hold and started getting gigs at legitimate clubs and a spot on the Toronto TV show Just Jazz. "Columbia and Warner Bros. came calling, but Steve Webster, the bass player, got the gig with Billy Idol for the Rebel Yell album and tour and the rest of us became involved with other projects
In the late 80s, Mike returned to Canada with his young family. Halifax's beautiful ocean locale, laid back lifestyle, and the nearness of old friends and family made it natural to think about staying. "When many of the musicians, who had left town years ago, started moving back the scene really came alive!"
Since returning home some