- Published: 21 October 2013
- Hits: 2001
For a piano player, he's had quite a ride. During the last ten years alone, Ben Dowling has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the world - from the Montreau Jazz Festival in Switzerland, to the Blue Note nightclub scene in Tokyo, to New York's Lincoln Center to the Greek Theater and Hollywood Bowl in LA.
A "musician's musician," he was deeply involved in the development of modern sound synthesizers during his tenure with Korg in the late 80's and early 90's, developing the M1, Wavestation and Oasys synths. As a producer, a music director for Grammy and Academy Award winning artists, a synthesist for Joe Zawinul and Michael Jackson, as film score composer for the CINE Golden Eagle winning United Nations documentary A Place To Stand or as a co-writer on The Whispers new Gospel hit, Thou Art With Me, Dowling continues to astound with his recent release of jazz fusion project World Rising, featuring Will Kennedy, Bob Sheppard and Mindi Abair - currently playing on more than 100 jazz stations around the US.
While it might be expected that a keyboardist could play in as many technology-laden fields of music, what is unexpected is the virtuosity of Dowling's pianistic touch and approach. With a unique, suspensive pedal technique, reminiscent of Chopin and Keith Jarrett, his solo piano music has been embraced by everyone from Kenny Loggins to Best Song Academy Award Nominee Bird York - performing with her recently at several Hollywood benefits and award shows.
But it is as a complete musician that Dowling truly shines. With furious technical chops combined with multiple tradition-informed sensibilities, Dowling can rock out in a straight-ahead fashion ala Hancock and Evans, swim in contemporary classical waters, to playing nu-gospel with the Agape International Choir - all with complete commitment and authenticity.
Collaborating with other artists seems to be thematic in Dowling's life, demonstrated with his multi-media exploration with painter and visual artist Mark Wagner in Visionsound's The Path of Peace, released on CD/DVD hybrid "DualDisc" in 2007. Currently on tour with Earth, Wind & Fire's Al McKay, he scored the film Spiritual Liberation featuring American mystic Michael Bernard Beckwith - in addition to performing in his recent PBS Special The Answer Is You with Niki Haris, Siedah Garrett and the Agape Choir - and recording Structures of the Heart, a series of improvisations with Georg Faust, principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Awards and Honors
Over the years, Dowling has accrued multiple RIAA Gold and Platinum Records, a CINE Golden Eagle and multiple technology awards for synthesizer developments. In addition, his original compositions have been featured on recordings, broadcast radio and television - and internationally in association with the United Nations.