Conal Fowkes is a Grammy winning pianist, double-bassist, vocalist, arranger and teacher. His skills and expertise cover diverse fields of music from traditional jazz to swing and post-bop, from traditional Cuban Son to Salsa and Latin jazz.
Born in Zambia and having spent most of his early childhood in Mexico, Conal moved to England in 1971. His classical studies gained him a place at the world-renowned Royal College of Music, London, where he studied with legendary concert pianist Yonty Solomon. At this time he also studied privately with Cuban Maestro Chucho Valdes.
During his four years of classical studies at the RCM he entered the International Wavendon Allmusic Competition where he was presented with the award as Winner of the College Student Allmusician of the Year by HRH Princess Margaret.
While living in London he performed at most of the premier concert halls and jazz venues throughout Europe with many leading musicians including Cleo Laine, Johnny Dankworth, Nigel Kennedy, Stacey Kent, John R.T. Davies, George Chisholm, Roberto Pla, Patato Valdes, Alfredo Rodriguez, Adalberto Santiago, Steve Turre, Henry Fiol, and Jesus Alemani.
Since moving to New York in 1996 he has performed in 48 States at most of the premier concert halls and jazz clubs including NY’s Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Birdland, Smalls, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Cafe Carlyle, Algonquin, Feinstein’s, Rainbow Room, World Trade Center, Kennedy Center (DC), Yoshi’s (CA) and Blues Alley (DC).
He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Bucky Pizzarelli, Wycliffe Gordon, Bob Wilber, Ray Santos Big Band, Houston Person, Johnny Pacheco, Gene Bertoncini, Paquito D’Rivera, Marion McPartland, Romero Lubambo, Boston Pops Orchestra, Chocolate Armenteros, Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Cheo Feliciano, Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks Orchestra, Cyro Baptista and Bette Midler.
He has made several appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and the Rosie O’Donnell Show and was featured soloist in the hit Broadway show, One Mo’ Time. He can be heard and/or seen in the films Lipstick On Your Collar, Madame Suzatska, Ghost World, Finding Forrester, five time Oscar winner The Aviator, Proud and The Loss of a Tear-drop Diamond. He is featured on the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Strangerand plays the voice and piano of Cole Porter in Allen’s Oscar winning film Midnight in Paris, from which the soundtrack album won a GRAMMY award in 2012 for Best Compilation Soundtrack. He is featured in Allen’s 2013 release Blue Jasmine.
He can be seen on the DVDs, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival ( with Eddy Davis, Wycliff Gordon and Evan Christopher),Live at the Campidoglio (with Woody Allen) and Eddy Davis and Conal Fowkes Live in Barcelona. He is featured in the PBS documentary Sound Revolution presented by Morgan Freeman.
He has been with the Woody Allen New Orleans Jazz Band since 2001, touring extensively around the world while also maintaining their regular Mondaynights at the Cafe Carlyle. He is part of a duo with the great banjoist/singer Eddy Davis with whom he regularly tours in Europe. He is also a member of John Gill’s Yerba Buena Stompers, award winning Cuban group Los Soneros de Oriente, Charanga Orchesta Yerason, Orchesta Tipica Novel and Grammy nominated Latin group The New Swing Sextet. He is also pianist to movie star Danny Aiello.
He has performed in 34 countries and has over 35 recordings to his name.