Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Long known for his expertise in coming up with the perfect chord for the perfect situation, the subtle Jimmy Rowles was in demand for decades as an accompanist while being underrated as a soloist. After playing in local groups in Seattle, Rowles moved to Los Angeles in 1940 and worked with Slim Gaillard, Lester Young, Benny Goodman, and Woody Herman. After serving in the military, he returned to Herman (in time to play with the first Herd), recorded with Benny Goodman, and also had stints with Les Brown and Tommy Dorsey. Working as a studio musician, Rowles appeared in a countless number of settings in the 1950s and '60s, but was best known for his playing behind Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee. In 1973, he moved to New York where he recorded more extensively in jazz situations (including duets with Stan Getz), but after touring with Ella Fitzgerald during 1981-1983 he returned to California. His song "The Peacocks" became a standard, and Rowles recorded for many labels throughout his career including with his daughter, flügelhornist Stacy Rowles.