Beans Bowles Remembered


Last year I reported on a tribute to Beans Bowles in Detroit. He spoke very openly about his days being numbered. When he finally passed away on January 28 it did not come as a surprise, but it did create a sense of loss among those who knew him. He was a very important baritonist and leader in the Detroit jazz community and he played a pivotal role at Motown as an instrumentalist and administrator. 

One of the highpoints of his jazz career was his stay at Lavert's in 1956-58 with a group that included among others: trumpeter Al Aarons, tenorist Joe Henderson, pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Clarence Sherrill and drummer Roy Brooks. This was sandwiched between tours with Illinois Jacquet and Bill Doggett. In the 1960s his Swinging Dashikis played at the Drome and were part of the Motown Review, an idea to which he gave birth. Some of the Dashikis were Marcus Belgrave, Teddy Harris and Harold McKinney. In the 1970s Bowles started his work with the Graystone Orchestra and Museum, which he continued to his last days. Beans Bowles was an inspiration to many young musicians and someone who touched all those he met. I had the privilege of meeting him on a number of occasions and found him a very caring and engaging human being.