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Kris Bowers

A gifted pianist and composer, Kris Bowers makes genre-bending jazz that touches upon contemporary R&B, electronica, and forward-thinking modal improvisation. Bowers gained wider prominence after winning the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and releasing his expansive 2014 album Heroes + Misfits. He also composes for film, having contributed the soundtracks to the 2016 documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, the 2018 Oscar-winning film Green Book, and 2020's Bad Hair. He earned a Grammy nomination for his 2023 score for Netflix's Bridgerton, and garnered yet more acclaim for his score to Ava Duvernay's film Origin and the 2023 version of The Color Purple. Born in Los Angeles in 1989, Bowers grew up listening to his parents' classic soul records and hip-hop before falling under the spell of jazz, classical music, and film scores. He studied classical piano and jazz while attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and performed in numerous festivals while still a teenager. After high school, he earned both undergraduate and master's degrees in jazz performance from Juilliard. It was there that Bowers began making a name for himself as a formidable jazz musician, and he found regular work gigging around New York City. In 2011, he won first place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. That same year, he showcased his versatility by appearing on Jay-Z and Kanye West's collaborative album Watch the Throne. In 2014, Bowers released his experimental jazz, R&B, and electronic-influenced debut album, Heroes + Misfits, on Concord. Around the same time, he began branching out into film work, scoring the soundtrack to such productions as the 2013 documentaries Seeds of Time and Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, the 2016 documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, and the 2017 scripted drama Dear White People. He also supplied the soundtrack to the 2018 Oscar-winning biopic film Green Book, about pianist Don Shirley. More soundtrack work followed, including for the 2020 TV production Mrs. America and the satirical horror film Bad Hair. Later that year, he contributed to both Bridgerton and Bridgerton: Covers from the Netflix Original Series, picking up a Grammy nomination for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Also that year, he scored director Blitz Bazawule's version of The Color Purple and Ava Duvernay's Origin.
© Matt Collar /TiVo


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