Alan Gowen

In his all-too-brief professional music career, jazz-rock keyboardist and composer Alan Gowen garnered respect from his peers and a small cult audience but little more than that, although he arguably deserved much more. He made his initial mark within what is now referred to as the Canterbury scene of British prog rock, which received a fair amount of critical acclaim but usually only moderately sized audiences, and he also arrived on the scene after the late-'60s and early-'70s Canterbury heyday, thus never achieving the levels of attention enjoyed by such fellow keyboardists as Soft Machine's Mike Ratledge, Caravan's Dave Sinclair, or Dave Stewart of Hatfield and the North and National Health. Yet, his relatively small body of work reveals a searching and explorative sensibility that might have brought him wider artistic acclaim and even an acknowledgement of his impact on latter-day musicians extending into the 21st century -- had he not died of leukemia on May 17, 1981. As is the case with so many musicians who have died prematurely, this is something that can only be surmised.

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