Women's History Month continues with Bonnie Lowdermilk
By MINDI MCNEIL • MAR 6, 2019
Today, KUVO looks at Bonnie Lowdermilk as we celebrate Women’s History Month. We talked to Bonnie recently regarding some of her Shero’s in Jazz:
“I've listened to everybody and had lots of influences. As far as Sheroes, I'll start with Carmen McCrae and Blossom Deary. Another really big shero of mine is Dena DeRose. She is such a consummate musician. She is both a great pianist and singer and her arrangements and piano style are brilliant and unique. But also, our own Ellyn Rucker is a big shero of mine. I still fondly remember hearing her for the first time many years ago at Simm's Landing. I was so in awe of her. That was the first of many live listening sessions which greatly inspired and captivated me as a young singer/ player. It cultivated the ambition I would pursue to sing AND play, something that would take me many, many years to master.”
What got you interested in jazz, and what is your favorite jazz song and why?
“I became interested in jazz in college when some of the other music majors were listening to it and starting to play it. At the time our studies were purely classical. I'd always learned songs by ear from the radio growing up, I loved the sound of jazz and the songs associated with it, so that jazz was the next step after classical was a natural for me.
I'm often asked what my favorite song is, and it's so hard to choose because there are so many great ones! Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's "Nobody Else But Me" comes to mind. I'm a real sucker for great harmonic structure, beautiful melodies, and great lyrics. This song has all three!”
Bonnie, what inspires you about Jazz?
“I love the way jazz appeals to my intellect as well as my emotions. I love all the complex harmonic structures and the beautiful lines one can create from them. It's really like a language you learn, and once you've learned it, it's so much fun to create beautiful melodic lines on the spot, based on the harmonies of the song, and to have conversations with the other players in the group, bouncing off each other. I also love how it seems endless; no matter how much we learn and play, there will always be more to learn and more room to grow and get better!”