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Bob Cowan Collection

Identifier: MS-0296

Scope and Contents

The Robert Cowan Collection was donated to the LaBudde Special Collections at UMKC Miller Nichols Library by Cowan himself in June of 2016. Cowan was an avid performer of the jazz trombone, and this collection chiefly consists of scores and parts to arrangements of jazz standards. There are twenty five pencil manuscript full scores in the collection, and sets of parts (although some are incomplete) to around sixty pieces. The works are not Cowan’s own, but included in the collection are, among other works, a number of original arrangements and an original composition by Bob Brookmeyer (1929-2011), a jazz valve trombonist, composer, and arranger from Kansas City. There are a few printed copies of parts from commercial arrangements of tunes, but the collection is mostly comprised of handwritten parts and scores. Only two of the handwritten works are dated, but the listed years of 1947 and 1951 provide a rough estimate for the timeframe in which these works were copied. There are a few miscellaneous items in the collection, including sketches of instrumental parts and a photograph and a flyer for Don Raymond and his orchestra.

Most of the works in this collection were numbered before the collection was donated, and this order has been preserved in the archival process. The numbers next to the piece titles in the container list reflect the numbers already given to the pieces. One will note that numbers 51, 54, 56, and 62 are missing from the collection.

As most of the music in this collection was handwritten, presumably for a specific ensemble, this collection is valuable to jazz scholars and performers, providing primary sources of jazz arrangements (and in a few cases, compositions). The Brookmeyer works are of particular importance, in that devoted researchers can note, for example, Brookmeyer’s approach to arranging jazz standards in relation to his original compositions. For those interested in the lively history of jazz in Kansas City, this collection adds to that tradition, as Bob Cowan and Bob Brookmeyer are both characters in the ongoing story of Kansas City jazz.


  • c. 1940s


Conditions Governing Use

Donor has retained copyright


3 Linear Feet (LaBudde: 5 boxes.)

Language of Materials


LaBudde: Dillon Henry, Stuart Hinds (supervising archivist).
LaBudde: June 2016.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Special Collections and Archives Repository