Buzz “Buzzsaw” Fowler Tribute is 3 p.m. Dec. 27 at the Rhythm Room

By Patricia Myers

Jan “Buzz” Burgess Fowler, 61, a Phoenix harmonica player and leader of the Toolshed and First String bands in Phoenix, died of a heart attack on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. A celebration of life featuring more than 60 musicians will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27 at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 85015 (602-85014, Admission is free, with donations encouraged to raise funds for the family’s funeral expenses, as well as canned goods for St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix…

Buzz came to Arizona from Delaware, and was most recently leading weekly jam sessions with his band Toolshed at the El Dorado Bar in Scottsdale on Wednesdays, and at Steel Horse Saloon in Phoenix on Thursdays.


“Buzz was a great guy with a big heart. He ran those jams well, and was really patient, never getting tense, he just let it roll,” said Jim Crawford, president of the Phoenix Blues Sociey. ‘Buzz created, built and managed the PBS website from his Second String Productions. He also was working on our society’s committee to solicit corporate sponsors.


“Everybody who knew Buzz respected his playing, and he was often invited to sit in with other bands. He was a lot of fun, and everybody liked him. He was always concerned about everybody’s welfare, and he worked real hard at keeping the peace among the feuding factions in the blues community He was a dedicated musician, and really worked at his craft. He was a student of the harmonica. He listened to others play, sought their advice and traded secrets with them.”


Among the musicians donating their talent and time on Dec. 27, according to Crawford, are two Arizona Blues Showdown winners, Smokestack Lightning Band, a Native American band from the East Valley, winner of this year’s competition, and the Paul Cruise Blues Crew, which won in 2013. Also Nina Curri-vocals-guitar, Dan Rutland-guitar, Doug Schultz-guitar, Rhythm Room owner Bob Corritore and many others.


Born March 2, 1954 in Odenton, Maryland, Buzz was passionate about giving back to his community. He was active with helping the VA and St. Mary’s Food Bank, where he was named a Contributor at Large. He was a board member of the Phoenix Blues Society and Phoenix Toastmasters. A U.S. Armed Forces veteran, he will be buried in the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

He is survived by his mother, Merle Ruby Daisy Emberlain; his son, John Brian Fowler; daughter, Corinne Anne Jose and her husband, Benny; five siblings, Valiant Fowler, Christopher Fowler (Wanita), Aleta Ridgeway, Guy Fowler, and Tobias Fowler; and many nieces and nephews. The family suggests memorial contributions to St. Mary’s Food Bank, sent to the funeral home, R.T. Foard & Jones, Inc., 122 W. Main St., Newark, DE 19711.

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