Bio

"...A brilliant virtuoso whose complete control over the clarinet and originality as both an improviser and a composer are very impressive... When Joseph Howell plays his clarinet, his improvising style is so distinctive that no other clarinetists come immediately to mind, not even the late Buddy DeFranco or Eddie Daniels…”- Scott Yanow, author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76



Joseph David Howell was born in Porterville, California. After passively playing the clarinet in school from the age of nine, Joseph first developed his intense interest in Jazz traditions in junior high, having seen a band at Disneyland. He added the tenor sax and flute to his instrument arsenal in high school while listening to a variety of jazz legends at home. For undergrad, Howell attended CSU Northridge, beginning a dual study focus on jazz and classical music. At the end of his Masters degree studies at San Diego State University, he appeared on a few duos on Rick Helzer’s recording Face in the Mirror while preparing the move from California to Boston to attend New England Conservatory of Music. At NEC, Joseph earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Performance. The culmination of his studies there was his first album, entirely comprised of original compositions, with classmates he knew at the conservatory, Jazz Clarinet Now!


After his three jazz performance degrees, Joseph worked as a music teacher and musician, first in San Diego and then in the Baltimore/Virginia/DC areas on the east coast. He married his long-time girlfriend, violist and music teacher Karen Hopkins and, in order to save up money and get some college loans paid, enlisted in the Navy fleet band program. For now, he lives in Japan and performs and deploys with the Seventh Fleet Band there. After the enlistment, he intends to return to the US, performing and teaching as an individual, but this time with new experiences, perspectives, and strengths from his experience as a military musician.


Of his new CD, Time Made to Swing, Joseph told liner notes writer Scott Yanow: “This is a recording of highly trained modern-day musicians having a blast, spreading out and swinging on nice tunes. In the future I really hope to get to keep playing jazz of all kinds in this type of setting.” Joseph feels that his two albums, combined, give the most balanced look at all of the things he has typically done in small group jazz settings. 

 






Musicians and writers unanimously use the words “virtuosic” and/or “virtuoso” when describing Howell’s clarinet and saxophone performances. He has performed with Don Byron, Uri Caine, Rick Helzer, Marilyn Crispell, Alex Brown, Cory Pesaturo, Abe Most, Jason Palmer, Chuck Hedges, George Probert’s Monrovia Old Style Jazz Band, Brian Walsh, Vinny Golia, the Beantown Swing Orchestra, Alex Norris, Tedd Baker, Todd Marcus, Jason Yeager, Noah Preminger, Joshua White, Joe Manis, Donnie Norton, Glenn Moomau’s Juke Drivers, and many others. He has performed in many venues in California, Canada, Maryland, Massachussets, Mexico, Montana, New York, and Washington DC, as well as in Japan, South Korea, and Australia. As a classical clarinet soloist, he has performed his own original works, in addition to works by Piazzolla, Ben Hackbarth, Pozzi Escot, Jake Svendsen, Matthew McConnell, Albert Oppenheimer, Anthony Converse, Brahms, Cavallinni, Donald Martino, William O. Smith, Stravinsky, Weber, and many others. As mentioned above, he also proved himself a classical clarinet contender by winning the competitive audition into the Navy music program.


As a teacher, Joseph Howell has taught private music lessons for over fifteen years! He has taught clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, snare drum, piano, recorder (flute), jazz improvisation, musical composition, jazz trumpet, jazz violin/viola, jazz accordion, jazz clarinet, jazz saxophone, jazz piano, jazz vocals, and jazz drumset to students of various ages and levels. He has taught classes of various sizes, ages, levels, and demographics: from elementary school band to college level music theory, jazz improvisation, and ensembles. As a teacher, Howell tries to cater lesson plans to the goals and learning styles of his students and believes that it is very important to practice and learn with the students, showing them how to practice on their own.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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