The Kentucky-raised, New Orleans-schooled, New York-based Jon Cowherd is best known for his long-running partnership with drummer/bandleader Brian Blade, with whom he co-founded the Brian Blade Fellowship, whose acclaimed, influential albums showcase Cowherd's stellar keyboard work and singular compositional skills.
When not recording and touring with the Fellowship, Cowherd has worked extensively with a broad array of players and singers from the jazz, pop and rock worlds. It was in New Orleans' hotbed of musical inspiration that Cowherd met fellow Loyola student Brian Blade, with whom he would form the Brian Blade Fellowship. With Blade on drums and Cowherd on piano, and both sharing compositional duties, the Brian Blade Fellowship has proven to be an enduring and rewarding creative unit, releasing the albums Brian Blade Fellowship (Blue Note, 1998), Perceptual (Blue Note, 2000) and Season of Changes (Verve, 2008). When not collaborating with Blade, Cowherd's keyboard work, as well as his producing and arranging skills, have kept him at work on a wide variety of projects with an equally varied assortment of artists. He's currently a member of Cassandra Wilson's band, the Alicia Olatuja band and Nate Smith & Kinfolk, and his instrumental work has graced albums by the likes of Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Rosanne Cash, Lizz Wright, Iggy Pop, Alicia Olatuja, Marc Cohn, Mark Olson and Victoria Williams, and he's recorded alongside such world-class musicians as Joni Mitchell, Daniel Lanois, John Leventhal, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Nate Smith, Dave Easley, Jeff Parker, Marcus Strickland and Jack Wilkins. As a producer, Cowherd has overseen albums by Lizz Wright, Alyssa Graham, Maria Neckam and The Local NYC. He also served as keyboardist for and co-musical director for the all-star Joni Jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl, in honor of Joni Mitchell, in which he performed with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chaka Khan, Kurt Elling, Aimee Mann, Glen Hansard and Cassandra Wilson.