Bruce Fowler/Walt Fowler Luncheon – November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009

Bruce and Walt, after being introduced by ASMAC Board member Kim Richmond, started off with a free improvised piece with Walt on trumpet, Bruce on trombone and joined by fellow trombonists Ed Neumeister and George McMullen (bass trombone). This was a surprise to many of the attendees, who expected the usual talk, interview or panel discussion.

After the music, Bruce and Walt sat that microphones on stage and expounded a bit about their musical upbringing by their father William Fowler, a successful and prominent music educator in the Salt Lake City area. Also about their further education with the Frank Zappa musical projects.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the talk to this audience was Bruce’s relating about his work as an orchestrator with movie composer Hans Zimmer. Bruce’s work with Zimmer is ongoing but he has now embarked on several projects on his own. He gave many incites into the current methods used in scoring films, notably combining samples with live orchestra recordings.

Several members of the audience asked pertinent questions. This was followed by another musical number with the previous-mentioned instrumentalists with the addition of pianist Geof Stradling. During this free improvised piece, Bruce conducted the audience in participating vocally.

This was a fruitful and entertaining luncheon, not the least of which was Catalina’s sumptuous selection of excellent cuisine.


Bruce Fowler is a versatile musician, having come from a very musical family which boasts a father and five brothers who are all internationally respected composers and recording musicians.  He has been nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Lion King on Broadway.

He began his career as a trombonist, playing and recording with such notables as Frank Zappa, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Don VanVliet, Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones, Michael McDonald, the Akiyoshi-Tabackin Big Band, Brian Setzer, The Fowler Brothers and numerous others.  He also has performed on many movie and T.V. sound tracks, such as Jurassic Park, Batman Returns, Back To The Future II, Backdraft, Regarding Henry, Always, Mission Impossible, Multiplicity, Mirror has two faces, Daylight, The Long Kiss Goodbye, Men in Black, Hercules, George of the Jungle, a Bug’s Life, Toy Story II, Dinosaur, etc..  Bruce is featured in the movie “Short Cuts” as the trombonist in Annie Ross’ band and is prominently featured on the soundtrack album.

In 1989, Bruce began working as an orchestrator. In 1990 he met Hans Zimmer (through Shirley Walker), and soon became his head orchestrator. Bruce and his wife, Suzette Moriarty, formed an orchestration company and have worked on some 150 movies to date. Working closely with Hans and other fine composers, such as Harry Gregson-Williams, naturally led to a keen interest in composition for film.

Bruce’s composition career began early, writing for big band and the Fowler Brothers’ various jazz-rock groups. He wrote numerous pieces for ballet and modern dance companies, including the L.A.Chamber Ballet, Mary Jane Eisenberg, Repertoire Dance Theater, and Jennifer Muller.

As a composer, his credits include The Good Shephered, The Rig and Seducing Charlie Barket.  Arranging credits include Short Cuts, Batman Returns, Kill me Again, All Dogs go to Heaven II, The Muppets, Trasure Island, and The Lion King.  As an Orchestrator, credits include over 180 films — Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Angels & Demons, all three Pirates of the Caribbean, Dark Knignt, and the upcoming Sherlock Holmes


Walt Fowler started playing piano at age 6, then took an interest in trumpet at age 8.  In 1974, he joined Frank Zappa and the Mothers and appeared on the live album, “Live at the Roxy and Elsewhere”. In 1975, he toured with the Billy Cobham Band along with Tom Malone, John Scofield and Milcho Leviev.

He then moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 1975 and formed a band with his brothers known as “The Fowler Brothers Band”. In 1976, he recorded with George Duke on the “From Me To You” album, and numerous Johnny “Guitar” Watson albums. He toured with Flo & Eddie, and later with Ray Charles and Buddy Rich’s Big Band.

In 1986 he toured with George Benson, then rejoined Frank Zappa’s band in 1987 for the “Broadway The Hardway” tour. He appears on the CD “Broadway The Hardway”, “The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life”, and “Make A Jazz Noise Here”, all live recordings from that tour.

Walt then did many tours with Diana Ross starting in 1989, then joined James Taylor’s band in 2001 for the “Pullover” tour (Pullover DVD), the 2003 “October Road” tour (October Road CD) , and the 2005 “Summer’s Here” tour. Walt also appears on the 2006 DVD “Musicares Person of the Year Tribute” honoring James Taylor.

Walt has performed live and/or recorded with artists such as; James Brown, Roberta Flack, Stanley Clarke, Yazawa, The Doors, Manhattan Transfer, Fishbone, Luis Conte, Billy Childs, and Toto. Walt is also featured on many major motion picture soundtracks, including Backdraft, Regarding Henry, Pacific Heights, The Lion King, Broken Arrow, The Thin Red Line, Black Hawk Down, Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13.

He has orchestrated on many feature films including The Rock, Con Air, Twister, Enemy of the State, Face-Off, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, Chicken Run, Shrek, Shrek 2, Spanglish, The Bourne Supremacy, X Men 3, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, The Holiday, The Good Shepherd, Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2 & 3, Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, The Dark Knight and Body of Lies.

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