Astrid Cowan was born in Detroit and began studying piano at the age of eight. Later, in the seventies, she moved to San Francisco to study piano with Katrina Krimsky.There she met trumpeter Woody Shaw and began to integrate classical and jazz influences. Continuing her studies, she relocated to Los Angeles where she studied jazz and composition at Dick Grove Music Workshop.

Still residing in Los Angeles, Astrid is known as a pianist, bandleader and composer, performing regularly in clubs. She has played with many jazz greats, including Bill Douglass, Marshal Royal, Herman Riley and Buddy Collette. Astrid has performed internationally throughout the Mediterranean countries and the Caribbean Islands.

Also a skilled educator, Astrid specializes in teaching jazz and improvisation to aspiring pianists. She has been involved with the Jazz America/LACER Program, teaching in area Middle Schools with Sam Most, Richard Simon and Jack LeCompte. During Black History Month, she plays with the Charles Owens Quintet, presenting a historical overview of jazz for Los Angeles area school students.

On her first CD, “Swing Team,” Astrid led a quintet consisting of piano, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums. Featuring three original compositions and five standards, the disc received frequent air play on KJAZ in Los Angeles and other stations across the United States. The CD was also reviewed in Jazz Times (May 1999), Jazz Improv (vol.2, no.2) and several Internet Jazz sites. Astrid‘s tune, “Thursday Night at Pasquales,” was used in the 2004 academy award winning film, “Sideways.”

Astrid’s second release, ”Summit,” includes two originals and displays her versatility as a jazz pianist and composer. The recording has been noted for her “honest, melodic approach and enthusiasm to showcase each member of her quintet,” which features Jerry Rusch on trumpet, Ron Berman on guitar, Richard Simon on bass and Chris Wabich on drums.

“Inner Pathways,” the next CD demonstrates Astrid‘s talent as a songwriter. Astrid composed the 12 songs and shared lyric writing with vocalist, Nita Sell. Instrumental and vocal performances are both featured on this accessible recording, blending jazz and latin influences.

Astrid‘s last CD, “In the Sun,” features more original music co-written with Nita Sell along with two standards. The quartet of Astrid on piano, Ron Berman guitar, Richard Simon bass and Kendall Kay on drums, accompanies singer, Nita Sell with a musical mix of jazz, bossa and blues. The lyrics reveal a variety of life experiences.