Robert “Boysie” Lowery

1995 Living Legacy Awardee

Black and white photo of Robert “Boysie” Lowery.

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Image: Robert “Boysie” Lowery. Credit: Courtesy of the artist.

Trumpeter and bandleader Robert “Boysie” Lowery received the second annual Living Legacy Jazz Award in 1995.

Lowery was born in Kingston, North Carolina and studied trumpet with his father, who was a bandleader and blacksmith, and his brother Bud, who played clarinet and saxophone in his father’s band. Early on, Bud began mentoring his younger brother, teaching him how to read music and instructing him in the basics of music theory. This personal attention provided Lowery with the foundation from which he was to develop his own unique teaching method and philosophy of jazz improvisation. In the early 1940s, Lowery moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he formed a band called the Aces of Rhythm. And it is in Wilmington where Boysie began his extraordinary career as a jazz educator.

For over 50 years, Lowery taught hundreds of aspiring musicians. His most noted pupil, however, was the late Clifford Brown, considered by many to be the finest trumpeter of the time. Clifford began his study with Lowery at the age of 12 while a student in Wilmington’s public schools. Lowery’s list of pupils also includes some of the finest jazz musicians to come out of the Delaware Valley including Lem Winchester, Ernie Watts, Abdu-Rashid Yahya, Marcus Belgrave, and Gerald Chavis. In addition, Lowery had been sought out by musicians as far away as Russia (Valery Ponomarev) and Africa (Hugh Masekela).

Robert “Boysie” Lowery (1931-2016)

*Bio from Award presentation.