Über Lester Bowie
Clown prince of the avant-garde and a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago for thirty years prior to his untimely death in late 1999, Bowie had a distinguished and varied career. His innovative techniques on the trumpet -- the use of quarter-tone "in-between" notes and various slurring, vocalizing techniques -- influenced a generation of musicians, and his boundless eclecticism helped expand notions of the word "tradition." Outside of his work with the Art Ensemble (a chapter unto itself), he led an organ jazz group and a quirky brass band that at one point played covers of Marilyn Manson and the Spice Girls. Just as importantly, he could play a slow, sad trumpet solo that touched nerves few others could reach.