Jimmy Owens doesn't have an extensive amount of recordings as a leader, but he distinguished himself through session work with numerous bandleaders and groups. Owens played with Miles Davis' band in the late '50s, but didn't record with them. He studied with Donald Byrd in 1959 and was in Marshall Brown's Newport Youth Band in 1959 and 1960. During the '60s, Owens worked with Slide Hampton, Lionel Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Gerry Mulligan, Charles Mingus, Hank Crawford, Herbie Mann, and Max Roach. He was a founding member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in 1966, and played with the New York Jazz Sextet from 1966 to 1968. Owens was also in Clark Terry's big band, and performed in Billy Taylor's orchestra for David Frost's television show. He toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie's band in 1968, then played and recorded with Duke Ellington and worked with Count Basie. He was one of the founders of the Collective Black Artists organization in 1969, and worked with the Jazzmobile as a teacher and performer in the late '60s and early '70s. Owens toured Europe with the Young Giants of Jazz in 1971, and led his group, the Jimmy Owens Quartet Plus One. He performed with radio orchestras in Germany and Holland and played with Chuck Israels' National Jazz Ensemble. Owens recorded with the Mingus Dynasty in 1979 and Errol Parker in 1980. He's done sessions as a leader for Atlantic, Polydor, and Horizon. He released the solo album Peaceful Walking in 2007.