In May 2006, Ulysses S. Owens Jr. completed a Bachelors of Music degree in Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City. His interest in percussion began at the tender age of two when he began experimenting with the drums from his beginnings in church. His youth and inability to read music made it difficult to secure an instructor to enhance what had been identified as a “natural ability.” While opportunities to study other instruments were given, it was no doubt that the drums were and are his true love.
At the age of 8 his opportunity to receive instruction finally came, and he studied classical percussion, drum set, and classical piano. These tools assisted him greatly in his reading and comprehension of melody and harmony, giving his playing a unique sensitivity and musical awareness. Ulysses is also using this ability to compose many different works. He was commissioned by the Washington D.C Arts Counsel to compose the opening piece for the 24th Annual Mayoral Arts, which featured African percussion, Jazz Ensemble and dancers on March 23rd 2009 at The Kennedy Center.
His interest and enthusiasm for the drums has never wavered and because of this; He’s received opportunities to perform with some of the world’s finest including Wynton Marsalis, Vanessa Rubin, Audrey McDonald, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Count Basie Jazz Orchestra, Benny Golson, Russell Malone, Mulgrew Miller, and many others. Being granted the opportunity to tour with many of these artists nationally and internationally has brought a great level of refinement to Ulysses’ ability as a musician.
Ulysses is currently touring with multi Multiple Grammy nominated artists Christian Mcbride, and Kurt Elling; which have been performing in venues nationally and internationally. Through his experiences he’s obtained endorsements from Yamaha Drums, Craviotto Snare Drums, Remo Drumheads, Zildjian Cymbals, Sibelius, and Vic Firth Inc.
He also holds the position as artistic consultant for Don’t Miss A Beat Summer Musical Workshop in Jacksonville Florida; whose sole vision is to expose local inner city youth to the arts. Under the direction of his Family’s 501 (c) 3 organization Don’t Miss A Beat in which he travels annually and conducts clinics and concerts with this organization, where educating students throughout the world about using the arts as an alternative to violence is the central goal.
Ulysses has just released his new debut project, “It’s Time For U”, which is displaying his performance abilities, as well as compositions with his new five piece band, The U.O Project. This Album was produced by Greg Knowles, and is an eclectic mix of Straight Ahead Jazz, and contemporary arrangements of some popular classics.
Ulysses’ vision is to continue operating in the area of philanthropy and combining all of his talents, furthering his vision of healing the world with the wonderful gift of music, and education. With his humble attitude, charisma, and vast knowledge, Ulysses will continue in great success.