Celebrity Recipient – JAZZ Achievement – 2008 Phoenix Music Awards – 18th Annual LA Music Awards
Dennis Rowland is beloved by jazz devotees and theatergoers around the globe.
The Detroit native and Phoenix, Arizona resident was the voice of the world-renowned Count Basie Orchestra between 1977 and 1984, where he shared the stage with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams and Tony Bennett. He is also featured on the Basie Band’s Grammy award-winning record “On the Road“.
An electrifying live performer, Rowland’s musical tours in recent years have taken him to Germany, Russia, England, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, the Czech Republic and Croatia. Stateside, he has performed at major jazz festivals, with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and at metropolitan Phoenix-area jazz clubs and performing arts venues.
Rowland is also well-known to theatergoers in his home state, appearing in Arizona Theatre Company productions of “Blue” (with Leslie Uggams), “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Blues in the Night” and Phoenix Theatre productions of “Chicago” and “Once on This Island” among others. In 2007, he was inducted into the Herberger Theater Center Hall of Fame for his contributions to the performing arts.
A Concord Records artist, Rowland’s CDs include “Rhyme, Rhythm & Reason“, “Get Here” and “Now Dig This” a celebration of ’50s and early ’60s Miles Davis music. Other recordings include the inaugural project “Blonde” for the Playboy Jazz label, Joe Sample’s “Sample This” and Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Band recording “We Do It Diff’rent“.
Rowland has been a Phoenix resident since 1987. He is married to Sydney Blaine, an Emmy award-winning writer/producer.
In December 2012, Rowland suffered a near fatal stroke and cerebral hemorrhage, which severely impacted his ability to sing, to work and to express himself consistently. With ongoing therapy, he continues to improve. He is fully committed to returning to the stage, the classroom and the career he loves (performing and music education).