Ulysses Owens Jr. has established himself as a leader in his generation of jazz artists, admired for his sensitive, fiery, and complex playing, vivid display of textural nuance, and a gift for propelling a band with charisma and integrity.
He is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Jazz Studies program at Juilliard and a two-time Grammy Award winner. Owens received his first Grammy in 2010 for his performance on Kurt Elling’s Dedicated To You, and his second Grammy for the Christian McBride Big Band album The Good Feeling. In addition to the two Grammy Awards, he has also received four Grammy nominations for his work with the Christian McBride Trio and Joey Alexander.
Owens has toured and recorded with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Elling, Diane Schuur, Renée Fleming, Mulgrew Miller, and many others.
Owens has released three of his own albums beginning in 2009 with It’s Time For U, which featured four original compositions and arrangements. His second album, Unanimous, was released on the European jazz label Criss Cross, and Onward and Upward was released in 2014 on the D-Clef Record Label. As co-leader of the New Century Jazz Quintet, he has released three albums with the Japanese record label Spice of Life: Time is Now, In Case You Missed Us, and Arise. Most recently, NCJQ were the winners of the First Annual D.C. Jazz Prix Competition, in association with the D.C. Jazz Festival.
He has also been honored with a 2015 Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing Award, a 2014 Global Music Award, and 2013 and 2014 ASCAP Plus Awards. He was designated a 2014 and 2016 Downbeat Magazine Rising Drum Star. He is artistic director of his family’s non-profit organization, Don’t Miss A Beat. He continues touring extensively and remains in demand for new projects.