River Cow Cosmic Orchestra Resume

      "...They create very open and wide structures and take time to develop things. Their improvisations originate on stage or in studio without much pretension. This results in very captivating music that is never in a hurry and working very consequent to its goal..It's just there.” Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly, Netherlands

"These guys are on the sidelines of reality.." Lynn Allred - LA Audio sound engineer - quote

"I sincerely believe this is the best creative venture I've ever heard from a midwestern group of cows & give it my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best creative jazz"! " Rotcod Zzaj - Zzai Productions - Improvijazzation Nation


Jazz artists in America have suffered much during the past thirty years. Dwindling audiences and public indifference toward the idiom have resulted in the emergence of more marketable jazz during the past few decades. The innovative avant-garde and free jazz styles of the 1960s and 1970s have been replaced with less adventurous more commercial jazz. In the 1980s, Wynton Marsalis became the leading advocate for the ‘Classical Jazz’ that promoted mainstream artists like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He authored an article in the New York Times titled, “What Jazz is – and Isn’t” (1988) that took aim at "..an attempt to blur the lines (of jazz) for commercial purposes." In the article he said new age, third stream, jazz/rock fusion were not jazz. In recent years a sub-genre ‘Smooth Jazz’ has emerged. Being heavily influenced by R&B and funk ‘Smooth Jazz’ has a contemporary beat to make the music more attractive to younger audiences. Commercial radio stations have promoted artists like Kenny G. and pitched ‘Smooth Jazz’ as a new format.

So where is jazz headed in the 21st century?

River Cow Orchestra alters the conventions of jazz. Our music philosophy focuses on collective improvisation, similar to the old New Orleans Jazz parades, paying particular attention to how each band member interacts with the group as a whole. We discard traditional features such as written melodies over fixed chord changes and instead focus on the roots of jazz, collective spontaneous improvisation.

We seek to explore the process of artistic creation rather than focus on making a polished commercial product for entertainment. We emphasize musical mood and place an aesthetic premium on the character and personality of each musician rather than the technical skill of each individual.

We follow the trailblazers of avant-garde and free jazz who cast off conventional jazz elements in search of greater artistic expression. We believe the forefront of jazz innovation lies with collective spontaneous improvisation. We are indebted to the jazz musicians which spearheaded the way.

Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Sam Rivers, Sun Ra, Rahassan Roland Kirk, AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Derek Bailey, Don Cherry, Charles Mingus, Roscoe Mitchell, Charlie Haden, later works of John Coltrane & Miles Davis, and many others.

River Cow Orchestra is not ordinary music, it challenges the audience. If you are interested in discovering something different we dare you to listen.

Performances in Kansas City

Jardine's Jazz Club
Drum Room in the Hilton President Hotel
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
The Czar Bar
The Record Bar
Californos in Westport
Granada Theatre
Crossroads KC at Grinders
Bar Natasha
Kansas City Club
Thesis (Volker) Park
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Riot Room / The Hurricane
The Brick
The Foundation
Korruption Club
Crosstown Stattion
El Torreon / Cowtown Ballroom
Coda Bar
Digital Labrador
Archival Designs
Soka Gakkai International Community Center
KCK Library Plaza
JOCO Central Library
Kansas City Writer's Place
Downtown Neon Gallery
Arts Incubator
Kansas City Artists Coalition
Bohemian Gallery
Next Space Gallery
S2 Art Gallery
Smith and Burstert Gallery
Imago Dei Arts Center
Westport Coffee House
Ten Thousand Villages
Grand Gallery and Cafe
Jilly's on Broadway
Pete's Inn Lounge
Unity in the Community Concert
Kacico Contemporary Dance Company
Mardi Gras Celebration, Kansas City Fringe Festival
Volunteer Appreciation Party, Kansas City Fringe Festival
KKFI 90.1 FM Band Auction 2009, 2010
Tour de Cowtown 2007, 2008 Greater KC Bicycle Federation
First Friday Crossroads Arts District, 2004 to 2010
Follow the Dotte Second Friday Kansas City, KS '08, '09, '10
Kansas City Fringe Festival 2005 to 2009
Kansas City Independent Filmmaker's Jubilee '07, '08, '09, '10
Kansas City X Fest (experimental music/dance festival) 2006
Ad Astra Studio
Daniel Pearl Foundation World Music Day Concert, Kansas City
Cafe Cedar, Parkville, MO
Parkville Riverfest, Parkville, MO
Electro-Music Festival, Parkville, MO
The Granada, Lawrence, KS
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS
Spring Arts & Culture Festival, Lawrence, KS

Updated:  November 7, 2010

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