Bryan Bowman, Grant Levin, Mas Koga & Sam Bevan
After working together for years as sidemen in various music ensembles, Bryan Bowman and Sam Bevan wanted to form a group that embraced their disparate influences as composers and players while cultivating a very honest and personal sound. Inspired by recordings of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet, the two wanted to emphasize lyricism and move between formal structure and free playing without detouring into selfish avant-gardism. However to avoid contrivances, they decided to let the compositions dictate the direction of the playing. Very quickly they headed into the studio and enlisted the brilliantly creative, Grant Levin on piano and Masura Koga on woodwinds, to compliment their vision. With little preparation, the group recorded twenty-two songs in only two five-hour sessions. It was immediately apprarent that the quartet’s chemistry was insistent, potent and unique. The resulting Hawkeye sessions will hopefully engage listeners with their creative joy, spontaneity and fun.
Born in Los Angeles, Bryan Bowman was surrounded by music from an early age. His father Robert is a classical pianist and music professor and his mother plays the cello and is an international folk dancer. These influences guided his musical journey toward the study of classical, jazz, rock, Balkan and North Indian classical music. Bryan studied music formally at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, CSU Long Beach and CSU Chico. He has performed, toured and recorded with numerous artists including: Deron Johnson, Trio Mompu with Lily Storm, Ivan Milev, Nikolay Kolev, Sheldon Brown/Michael Wilcox Trio, Mark LevineRandy Vincent, John Stowell, Andre Bush, Clairdee, Harvey Winapel, Loose Wig, Mike Zilber and Anton Schwartz.
Since moving to the Bay Area in 1999, Sam Bevan has established himself as one of the most versatile and creative bassists in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, joyously intermingling jazz, funk, r&b, folk, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Venezuelan and West African disciplines. The foundation was laid for Bevan’s career when he began classical piano lessons at the age of four. Sam’s adoption of the electric and acoustic bass followed periods playing jazz and classical piano, singing professionally and getting a BA in French Some of his professional music relationships have included: David Grisman, Joe Craven, Roswell Rudd, Monk’s Music Trio, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, The VNote Ensemble, Mary Wilson, Matt Flinner, Scott Nygaard, Bjorkestra, Fito Reinoso, Mamadou Sidibe, Kenny Washington, Louis Romero & Mazacote, the Hot Club of San Francisco, the Sonando Quartet and the Nathan Clevenger Group.
Grant Levin is a dynamic and dedicated jazz pianist based in Northern California. With no style of jazz left untouched and vibrant improvisations, his style is well appreciated both by listener and musician alike. Levin received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in and is currently an adjunct faculty member in the music department at California State University, Chico where he teaches jazz piano and jazz improvisation. He has performed with Little Anthony and the Imperials, Greg Gisbert, Michael Marcus, Madeline Eastman, Chris Amberger, Bishop Norman Williams, Akio Sasajima, Vince Wallace, Lori Bell, Larry Hancock, Josh Jones, Paula Chase, Clint Strong, Sheherezade Stone, Darrell Green and Tekanawa “Rufus” Haereiti.
Mas Koga grew up in Japan, the U. S., and West Germany. In 1991, he found himself in San Jose, CA. Having an international childhood, it was only fitting that he ended up at San Jose State University where he intensively studied and explored various musical traditions from around the world. He has traveled and recorded and performed nationally with artists such as Hafez Modirzadeh, Francis Wong, Anthony Brown, Royal Hartigan, Kei Akagi, John-Carlos Perea, Wayne Wallace, Kat Parra, and Fred Ho. He is also the artistic director of SambAsia, an award winning San Francisco-based community samba school, teaching and performing Brazilian percussion instruments.