Ralph Towner was born into a musical family: His mom taught piano and his dad played the trumpet. Early on, he played piano and discovered the artistry of Bill Evans. The Evans sound was a strong early influence, but then, after buying a classical guitar and falling for the instrument, he headed to Europe to study it more deeply and to discover its classical music.
Moving back to New York City, his jazz experiences saw an evolution and a move to playing 12-string guitar. It was the ’70s and the music landscape was seeing much experimentation, cross-genre activity, and creative development. His musical journey saw him as the lead with the jazz ensemble Oregon.
A tragedy involving a serious accident with the band’s tour bus resulted in the loss of the manager and the percussionist. The band continued on with a transformation with two different replacement percussionists. Creative expression could not help but to be affected deeply.
In many ways, there has been a full-circle reality to Towner’s career. His 2017 release is an homage to Bill Evans who was such a strong influence in Towner’s earlier piano-playing days. A career is a journey. A journey is an experience of experiences: evolution, growth, rediscovery of foundations, and transformations. Ralph Towner’s artistry is all that a journey gifts.