Locally raised, but globally renowned, the Bosman Twins have sold out performances and are a hometown favorite on the stage. They return to celebrate Father’s Day this coming weekend at Jazz St. Louis with several performances to choose from.
It’s inaccurate to simply define the Bosman Twins as jazz masters. Classically trained scholarship musicians while at Florida A&M, the twins have perfected their craft over the years as composers, educators, arrangers, and creative businessmen. A conversation with the twins is like listening to one of their performances; a back-and-forth banter that is fun, engaging, and a lifetime in the making, with a chemistry that is unmistakably “family” (Dwayne is the older twin only by 10 minutes).
Growing up in St. Louis, the Bosman Twins came from a musical family. Their father, Lloyd Smith, was an accomplished woodwind artist and played with some of the biggest names in jazz and big bands. Under their father’s tutelage, the twins started at age 10 and were playing professionally as “The Bosman Twins” by the age of 14.
Now fathers themselves to grown children, both gentlemen have raised accomplished musicians. Dwayne tells us, “Like my father, it has been important for me to create an environment where my children could be inspired by great musicians and all genres of music. I hope they appreciate what they saw and heard in their surroundings and use it as motivation for their individual creativity, whether it be in music or something else interesting and meaningful in their lives.” Dwight adds, “It was very important to provide music to my children because I wanted them to have the discipline required in music. Additionally, I wanted them to be exposed and knowledgeable about all the arts.”
While their children have chosen a variety of career paths, all of them play instruments. And several are pursuing careers in music. Dwayne’s son, Jordan (tenor sax), plays professionally in Chicago. Dwight’s son, Dwan (saxophone) is well-known in the Atlanta area, and daughter, Morgan (vocalist, piano, flute, and ukulele), is making waves on the Nashville music scene. “I never thought about my children becoming professional musicians and to possibly have to struggle, but they are both doing fine,” Dwight says. Dwayne chimes in, “the decision to pursue music as a career has always been theirs. I never pushed them beyond the healthy boundaries of my influence. But music is part of their DNA,” he adds, smiling.
For the Bosmans, music is truly a family affair. Even their sister, Cheryl, who is described as the poet of the family, had a hand in penning lyrics for their 2015 album, “When Lions Roar.” Dwayne explains, “God first, and then family. Without family, you have nothing.”
In addition to raising musically talented children, both Bosman brothers have imparted their wisdom as educators, and continue to give back to their communities by performing at charitable events, benefits, and serving as judges at jazz band competitions. One of the things that excites them about the future of jazz is seeing the rise in numbers of high school students participating in jazz competitions. “In order for jazz to elevate, it’s necessary to start early. Music must continue to be part of schools,” Dwayne observes. “Some of the things Jazz St. Louis is doing with their education programs…we need more of that,” Dwight adds.
Both Dwight and Dwayne are woodwind experts and play multiple instruments, including saxophones of all types, flute, clarinet, oboe… virtually every woodwind. And most of them are incorporated into their performances. Dwight mentions a curved soprano sax he enjoys playing due to its unique timbre and feel.
When asked about their sound, Dwayne tells us, “We have a St. Louis sound that’s part of the midwest. It’s earthy with traces of blues. It can be raw and other times it can be sophisticated or funky.“ Dwight adds, “We like to incorporate some form of spirituality. Once you get into the music, there’s a feeling that’s spiritual.“ With a sound that blends blues, jazz, gospel, straight-ahead and avant-garde, the Bosman Twins credit their sound to the many years of playing with different musicians from all over the world, whom they consider part of their extended musical family. “We enjoy meeting artists and people of all walks of life. People come together with music. You play with various musicians and it gives you a greater perspective and helps you grow,“ Dwayne says.
Audiences at this weekend’s shows can expect to hear a little something for everyone. “We want to try and hit upon the many periods of jazz,” Dwayne explains. “And it’s more than just a jazz experience. We like to get the audience involved,” Dwight adds. This weekend’s shows will highlight talents from St. Louis and Atlanta, as they’re joined on stage by Louis Heriveaux (piano/Fender Rhodes), Rod Harris Jr. (guitar), Jeff Anderson (bass), and Emrah Kotan (drums).
When asked what “jazz“ is to them, Dwayne defines it as “improvisation of melody, harmony and rhythm. It’s all related and interrelated. Take Debussy, for instance. You hear his style in Coltrane’s music. Van Gogh’s Impressionism exists in both music and art. It‘s like progressive jazz.“ As for jazz in today’s musical landscape, Dwight says “it’s a specialty art form. You have to search for it. We’re not on an equal playing field with other musical genres.“
As for a message to all the dads out there this Father’s Day? “Thank you for being and staying in the game of Fatherhood by dealing with the challenges of working long hours and still having time to attend your child’s music recital or sporting event. Kudos for being present in the lives of the young men and women who depend on you for direction, discipline, guidance, and advice,” Dwayne says warmly. Dwight adds, “Spend time with your children and support their interests and goals. Help guide them, influence them, and encourage them, and it will be the most rewarding and exhilarating experience a man could ever have.” Well said, guys.
Gather your family and celebrate the dads in your lives this Father’s Day with two of St. Louis’ finest jazz fathers, The Bosman Twins. Get tickets now!
Learn more about the Bosman Twins on their website – http://www.thebosmantwins.com.