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Andrew Rowan works in both jazz music as a producer, manager, and writer, and he is also a college educator (English).
A native Arkansan, my first music experiences were in my hometown Baptist church. I can home one day and my Mother had bought me a piano, and I learned to pick out songs, mostly hymns -- to this day I love the standard English hymns, the elegance, the power and the restraint. Eventually, I played organ for my church's youth choir. In high school, I played alto saxophone, alto clarinet and bassoon.
A turning point was when my Mother took me to see Ray Charles (I believe I was in 7th grade) at our town's college. I was never the same! Eventually, I also fell in love (and love to this day) with, arguably, the greatest vocal artist of our time, Aretha Franklin.
In college, I really started to listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae and Dexter Gordon. While at the University of Nebraska, I met the late Jay McShann in Lincoln and we were lifelong friends. I heard Victor Lewis with the university's jazz lab band and his greatness was already there. The college brought Gerry Mulligan, Clark Terry, Muddy Waters, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner, among others, and I was hooked.
Discovering Etta Jones' Don't Go to Strangers in the basement of a college friend's parents' house in Omaha sealed the deal. So, here I am, producing Valerie Capers and Kendra Shank, as well as the Starry Nights series at the American Museum of Natural History, writing for All About Jazz and working as a member of the Jazz Ministry's Jazz Commission at Saint Peter's Lutheran Church.