Reuben Fowler is a 28 year old trumpeter, composer and arranger based in London, UK. He is the recipient of the 2012 Kenny Wheeler prize, the 2012 Musicians Benevolent Peter Whittingham Award and the Jazz Services Recording Support Scheme. His debut album ‘Between Shadows’ was released on Edition Records in July 2013 to critical acclaim, being cited as ‘one of the top 50 jazz releases of 2013.’ ‘Between Shadows’ is an album of original jazz orchestra music featuring Reuben, US trumpet icon Tom Harrell, Stan Sulzmann and Jim Hart. The big band comprises of some of the UK’s finest jazz and session musicians including Mike Lovatt, Percy Pursglove, Gordon Campbell and Sam Mayne. In addition to the studio recording; recorded at Angel Studios, the ensemble has performed at some of London’s finest venues including Kings Place and the Royal Festival Hall as part of the 2013 London Jazz Festival.
Fowler’s latest project (2018) celebrates the 40th birthday of arguably one of the finest contemporary albums of all time–Steely Dan’s ‘Aja.’ In true Steely Dan fashion, the recording features 22 of London’s finest jazz and session musicians collaborating to perform Reuben’s arrangement of Black Cow, a Steely Dan masterpiece. Among those contributing are The Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart/vocals, Paul Booth/sax and Jason Rebello/keys.
As Reuben explains, “…as the name of the project suggests, we recorded this as an arrangement painstakingly faithful to the original version with the sole intention of celebrating 40 years of Aja; an album responsible for introducing me to Steely Dan’s music that I have lived with and loved for a very long time.”
‘Black Cow’, the single, is a digital stream and download release only on the Ubuntu Music record label, and can be found on all major digital/streaming platforms throughout the world (such as Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal). All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research’s oesophageal cancer unit, in memory of the passing of Walter Becker, co-founder and guitarist of Steely Dan.
Explaining this decision, Fowler continues, “I started this project around eight months ago with musical buddies Tom Walsh and Darren Williams purely as a labour of love. Sadly, within that time one half of the Donald Fagen/Walter Becker partnership that created ‘Steely Dan’ as we know it passed away. Martin and I felt that this was the right thing to do to preserve the original spirit of the project while doing something in Walter’s memory.”
“I was first introduced Reuben’s idea late one night at Ronnie Scott’s and never stopped thinking about it since”, says Ubuntu’s Director, Martin Hummel. “It’s the right time to remind ourselves of just how brilliant this music is and to celebrate its genius. And Reuben, along with his all-star Big Band, is just the guy to make it all happen.”
Future plans include an album of Steely Dan/Donald Fagen material, along with a supporting tour in 2019.
In addition to his solo projects, Reuben has played with Boy George, Paloma Faith, Noel Gallagher, Texas and Culture Club. In 2014 Reuben was involved in the Boy George ‘This Is What I Do’ UK, Europe and USA Tour culminating in a performance on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ in Los Angeles, where his trumpet was heavily featured on ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’
Born into a musical family in Wakefield, Reuben began playing the trumpet in secondary school and displayed an interest in jazz and the large ensemble repertoire with the Doncaster Jazz Association (DJA) at age 15. With the DJA he toured New York and played at the Royal Albert Hall as a featured soloist. At 17, he was part of an album recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Doncaster Jazz Orchestra, recording the flugelhorn feature ‘Blue.’
During his teens Reuben commuted regularly to London to take a chair with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. With NYJO he played at various venues and festivals throughout the UK, including Ronnie Scotts. In 2008 he gained a place on the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music. While at the Academy Reuben studied with Gerard Presencer, Nikki Iles, Mike Lovatt and Mike Gibbs.
On graduating, he was awarded the John Baker Memorial Prize for Brass. In 2012, Reuben was part of the International Association of Jazz Educators with Dave Liebman, where he met and studied with the great Michael Abene.
Since leaving the Academy, Reuben has been active both recording and touring. His trumpet can be heard on the upcoming ‘Culture Club’ album (released 2015) and the American release of ‘This is What I Do’ by Boy George, where he is featured on ‘Turn On A Little Light For Me.’ He has also recorded with Peter Cox of ‘Go West’, and can be heard on ‘Live at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2013’ by Troyk-estra (with whom he is a member.)
Reuben has played at many of the worlds finest venues and festivals including North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and The Fillmore, San Francisco.
Reuben Fowler endorses Vincent Bach trumpets exclusively.
Quotes & Reviews
“Fowler may well be the most exciting and accomplished trumpeter to emerge on the British jazz scene”
“Elegantly crafted orchestration…demonstrating a maturity well beyond his years.”
“Reuben has that extraordinary combination of abilities that are entirely appropriate for this prize in Kenny’s name: great composer, masterful orchestration, commanding soloist and an overall vision for a most ambitious project.”
– Evan Parker
“Surely someone we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future.”
– Stephen Graham for ‘Jazzwise’