Bowman, a native Kansan, learned to play the piano and clarinet before beginning to play bass at age 12. He won a scholarship to the Stan Kenton Jazz Clinic as a high school freshman, followed by study at North Texas State University.
In 1976, he joined the famous Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, touring and recording several albums, including the Grammy award-winning “Live in Munich.” Bob continued his performing and recording career by joining the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band in Los Angeles in 1979. He recorded numerous albums as a member of this band, many of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. Bob also had long musical relationships with pianists, composers and arrangers Dan Haerle and Frank Mantooth.
Bob has toured and recorded with many artists including the legendary Carmen McRae, Pat Coil, Freddie Hubbard, Bud Shank, Karrin Allyson, Steve Houghton, Steve Allee, Bill Mays, Clay Jenkins, Danny Embrey, Todd Strait, Bob Sheppard, Matt Otto, Rod Fleeman, John Stowell, Jerry Hahn, Bobby Watson and others. Also he has had a very important musical relationship with Kansas City musicians like Tommy Ruskin, Paul Smith, Mike Ning, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Jay McShann, Stan Kessler, and many more. Bob moved to Kansas City in 1988 where he has been a major part of the vibrant jazz scene there. He was a faculty member of the University of Missouri as well as Ottawa University and leads legendary Kansas City group INTERSTRING and various version of Bowdog.
Bob now lives in Montana where he first visited when he was 5 years old, enjoying playing music and the beautiful country year around. He travels back to the Midwest every 2 – 3 months to perform and record. “Very deep jazz history and great musicians in Kansas City that keep me coming back.” Bob says.