Dr. Joseph D. Howell

Primary Instrument: Clarinet

Born: December 16, 1980    

Dr. Joseph D. Howell

”...A brilliant virtuoso whose complete control over the clarinet and originality as both an improviser and a composer are very impressive...” - Scott Yanow, world-famous jazz writer Dr. Joseph D. Howell has gone from being a mostly self- taught musician from a poor small-town family to earning a Doctor of Musical Arts from a prestigious conservatory. Today he professionally performs, composes, and teaches music of many styles and instruments while maintaining an artistic focus on jazz clarinet and sax. Joseph Howell grew up in the rural town of Porterville, California. Though he played the clarinet in the school band programs from fourth grade on, it was not until he began college that he received formal private instruction on his instruments...
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• 3 years of merit-based jazz scholarships toward partial tuition at the New England Conservatory of Music (Fall 2005- Spring 2008). • Full tuition scholarship from San Diego State University Music Department, towards my studies for a Master’s of Music degree in jazz performance (Fall 2003-Spring 2005) • 4 years of jazz scholarships and awards from California State University Northridge Music Department (Fall 1999- Spring 2003), including the Ted Gould Memorial Scholarship (2000-2001). • Full tuition scholarship to attend CSU Summer Arts at California State University Fresno. Summer 2003. • Received certificates from International Association of Jazz Educators, for clarinet/tenor sax solos at IAJE conferences in Long Beach (Jan 9-12, 2002), University of Northern Colorado (April 25-27, 2002), and Tulare (1996). Received “Top Soloist of the Day” award in Tulare (March 1999). • Chosen for a scholarship from the Fresno Big Band Dance Society in Summer 2003. • Won 2nd place in the national Lincoln C. Selleck “Bix Lives” Jazz Award. Subsequently featured in Down Beat magazine (June 1999 issue) and received Monache High School’s “Outstanding Acheivement in State Level Competition” Award. • Received 2nd place “Berklee in L.A.” Award for outstanding musicianship, in 1999. • Received Stanford Jazz Workshop “Award for Outstanding Soloist, and Outstanding Achievement.” 1998. • Received the following scholarships to attend various jazz camps during high school years…Fresno Dixieland Society (1996, 1997), Helena Traditional Jazz Society (1996, 1997), See’s Candies (1998), Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society (1998), Fresno Big Band Dance Society (1998). • Received 1999 E. R. Berryhill Award from Monache High School. • Received Sierra Traditional Jazz Society’s $500 College Scholarship. 1999. • Offered a partial tuition scholarship to attend Berklee School of Music. 1998. • Received Melissa Rauber Memorial Scholarship. 1999. • Received Porterville Elks Lodge Scholarship. 1999. • Received Cal and Eleanor Nelson Jazz Scholarship. 1999.
REVIEWS AND PUBLICATION/RADIO MENTIONS • Featured on “Clarinet Corner,” a weekly program Troy University Public Radio hosted by clarinet professor Timothy Phillips. April 7, 2013. The program is devoted to a different clarinetist each week. • Howell’s CD, “JAZZ CLARINET NOW,” was reviewed by Eliot Caroom in The Baltimore Jazz Alliance Newsletter. November 2012. Review Highlights: “…there’s a really nice mix of melodic straight-ahead jazz (see ‘Blues for a Sicilian Friend’ and ‘The Phone Call’) with more out-sounding music. File the third track, ‘The Pot Melts,’ under out-sounding…This is the hip track you’d share with friends if you wanted to get their attention…There’s a lot to like here, running the gamut from tight traditional tunes to looser, freer, freakier stuff…” – Eliot Caroom, Baltimore Jazz Alliance Newsletter. November 2012, pg 3. • Howell’s CD, “JAZZ CLARINET NOW,” was reviewed by William Nichols in The Clarinet. March 2012. Review Highlights: “…This CD includes 10 tracks of amazingly varied styled tunes, all composed by the clarinetist. He is assisted by very talented sidemen: Alex Brown, piano; Tal Gamlieli, bass; and Matt Rousseau, drums…He possesses an impressively smooth and big technique, and produces somewhat multi-colored timbres which enhance the palettes of the varying styles represented in his compositions. His tenor sax and flute sounds, as heard on a single track each, are warm and effective. Improvisational skills are impressively free flowing and interesting…The mix and juxtaposition of compositional styles on this disc is an appealing aspect of programming not often found in jazz recordings. Notable examples of style-swings go from serial jazz, ‘Siwwy Babbitt,’ to the appealing Ellington-like ballad ‘The Phone Call,’ to ‘The Pot Melts,’ which Howell describes as ‘…like an avant-garde classical piece meets hip hop meets the jazz clarinet.’ Another unique and interesting tune is ‘Without Reason,’ which employs some wild pointillism, multiphonics, free rhythm, and some inexplicable sounds emitted from Howell’s instrument. In a more traditional vein is the particularly attractive Tony Scott-inspired ‘Blues for a Sicilian Friend,’ the flute ballad ‘Looking Back,’ and the liquid playing of the straight ahead modern jazz of ‘A Line of Mine.’ …For strict jazz purists some of the music contained here is not jazz, but then again perhaps it is Jazz Clarinet Now. Quoting program-note writer Scott Yanow: ‘Every selection on Jazz Clarinet Now is quite a bit different than the previous one, and humor is rarely lacking. This is the most impressive debut by a jazz clarinetist in decades. One waits with anticipation to see what Joseph Howell comes up with next.’ ”—William Nichols, “Audio Notes,” The Clarinet, Volume 39, Number 2, March 2012, pg 13. • Howell’s performance at ClarinetFest 2011 was reviewed by Gary Gray, clarinet professor at UCLA. Review Highlights: “The concert featured clarinetists Joseph Howell and Brian Walsh in a well planned format which gave them each solo time with the excellent rhythm section of pianist Kevin Su Nakagawa, bassist Colin Burgess, and drummer Trevor Anderies...I particularly enjoyed the high level of improvisation displayed by Joseph and Brian where it became impossible to tell which sections were part of a worked-out arrangement and which were spontaneous improv. They were taking chances and succeeding like seasoned jazz professionals! The next few pieces were originals by Joseph and featured him on Bb with the rhythm section. He got a chance to stretch out and take extended improvisations and I was impressed with his original approach which was really refreshing. He didn't sound like a copy of any particular jazz icon, from Benny Goodman to Eddie Daniels and/or others in between. Joseph has a really centered sound and great control. He can go into and out of the extreme altissimo, following his melodic thought process with no problems, and his long flowing lines are fascinating to follow! The next few tunes featured Brian Walsh alternating bass clarinet and Bb clarinet. Brian also has his own style: somewhat more avant-garde and exploratory than Joseph's but equally fascinating! ...The concert finished with Joseph and Brian together again in sympattico fashion and made me very glad I had chosen to hear these outstanding young artists. It would be great if this event had been recorded and made available to all of our ICA colleagues!” - Gary Gray (Clarinet Professor, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music) • Howell’s CD, “JAZZ CLARINET NOW,” was reviewed by Greg Simmons at All About Jazz. October 9, 2011. ttp:// Review Highlights: “…Howell's playing would be at home in almost any contemporary straight-ahead setting, and perhaps some more adventurous gigs as well. His grasp of the jazz vernacular is up-to-date and forward-thinking…Howell has a warm, full sound, and can often be found in the clarinet's fatter lower register, emphasizing the instrument's woody textures. He also picks up the tenor sax and flute on a couple of tracks. His co-conspirators are first rate, with standout piano work from Alex Brown…The album reaches an outré apex with ‘The Pot Melts.’ Opening with plodding discord, the piercing chaos gives way to a reinterpreted hip-hop beat, played acoustically. The clarinet —overdubbed to fill out the sound a little—drops an abstruse melody with some subtle electronic effects added. The piano provides a heavy sonic floor that anchors the piece with both bass weight and rhythm. It's a real attention- getter and, at a mere two minutes long, brings to mind another cliché: ‘Always leave them wanting more.’…‘Siwwy Babbitt’ is an example of everything Howell does right. A slightly funky melody over some soft block chords opens, before Howell drifts off into expanded, imaginative improvisation. Howell has studied under the great tenor Jerry Bergonzi, and he's taken those lessons to heart. That he delivers his improvisations on an instrument that almost qualifies as ‘rare’ in contemporary jazz just makes it that much more satisfying… Howell's effort to show the clarinet in a contemporary jazz setting is credible, and ultimately successful. The record could just as easily have been called ‘Jazz Now,’ and it would still have been spot on.” –Greg Simmons, All About Jazz • Howell’s Performance at ClarinetFest 2011 was praised in The Clarinet (vol 39, no 2). December 2011. ”Special kudos go to clarinetists Joseph Howell and Brian Walsh for their refreshing and esthetically exciting performance that combined the heavily avant- garde with jazz.” - Timothy and Katrina Phillips, “ClarinetFest 2011: A Review,” The Clarinet, Volume 39, Number 1, pg 38. • Howell’s Performance at the Turquoise Café was reviewed by Robert Bush at San Diego Reader. September 8, 2011. Review Highlights: “...Howell's got loads of credentials, including three degrees in music from CSU Northridge, San Diego State and the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music...Most of the music Howell selected would have fit comfortably on a Blue Note release from the mid-sixties, sort of straddling the divide between the absolute mainstream and more adventurous stuff...Howell chose a program of all original material, and while it would have been nice to throw in a few standards or modern classics from the books of Parker, 'Trane or Mingus, the originals served the clarinetist well as improvisational vehicles for his astonishing technical abilities...Whatever style he is playing, Howell has a seemingly endless fountain of ideas flowing out of his horn. The highlight moments, for me, were when he chose to incorporate ‘extended-techniques’ like multiphonics into his soloing...Violist Karen Hopkins sat in on several pieces, and the blend of her dark strings with the clarinet was sublime...If you think that the clarinet is somehow square, (it's not the most popular jazz instrument), check out Joseph Howell—he's got the goods.” - Robert Bush (Blogs – Jam Session, San Diego Reader) • Howell’s performance qualities were mentioned by Bart Mendoza in the Beach and Bay Press. September 11, 2011. Highlights: “...clarinet player Howell is a master of both classical and jazz sounds, inspired by the likes of Artie Shaw and Sidney Bechet. Though Howell’s music is by no means retro, it will strike a chord with anyone who has a few Blue Note albums in their collection...” - Bart Mendoza (”Live Music,” Beach and Bay Press) • Howell’s CD, “JAZZ CLARINET NOW,” was listed as “Good Listening!” in the “Recent Arrivals” section (pg 15) of William Nichols’ “Audio Notes,” in the June • 2011 of The Clarinet (Volume 38, Number 3). Review of 3-13-08 DMA Recital (1 of 2): ”...It was dazzling, as I might have expected. The array of pieces and styles was impressive, and represented a considerable amount of carefully-absorbed influence from contemporary classical music...His own playing was not just virtuosic. It was also capable of restraint and simplicity. At times he reached for the extremes of his technique—range especially. In the end, impressive as it was, it was not just showy, but left listeners with an impression of considerable depth: historical savvy, intellectual underpinning, an equilibrium between compositional structure and improvisational chops, and balance among the ensemble players. I can't imagine anyone hearing this and not being impressed with his range and command. His quirkiness and eccentricity is also completely evident, but in the context, it adds a necessary bit of humor and warmth to an event which otherwise might have been more easily taken as a showcase”—-Robert Labaree, Chair: Music History Department, NEC (as emailed to artist). • Review of 3-13-08 DMA Recital (2 of 2): ”...I thoroughly enjoyed your recital. Both the compositions and the performances were extraordinary, especially in the diversity of styles represented in the program. The unison playing between you and the sax was amazing; it sounded like a single instrument. Your tuning was so perfect in ‘Doom Groove’ that the 7ths and 9ths sounded consonant by the end of the piece. Your tone and tuning is perfectly consistent from the lowest to the highest registers and your sound is beautiful, even when playing in the stratosphere. The drum and clarinet duet in ‘Without Reason’ was amazing; I loved this tune. But ‘Phone Call’ was by far my favorite number in the program. The change in tone color was striking; a very moving piece. Thank you for a memorable experience”—-Tom Handel: Dean of Students, Professor of Musicology, Co-Director of the DMA Program, NEC (as emailed to artist). • Online User Review of “JAZZ CLARINET NOW” (CD) (1 of 2): ”The Real Deal...I must agree with Scott Yanow; this is a most impressive debut...and it's four-fur, because all of these guys can really play. There isn't one raggedy, out of synch solo to be found. Each soloist demonstrates their ability to melodically, spontaneously and creatively weave themselves perfectly into the fabric of each piece. It reminds me of when I first heard Charles Lloyd with Jack DeJohnette, Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Ron McClure. They can all do it well. However, it's Howell who really shines...He's the latest standard bearer for a very long but, over the last 50+ years, thin line of jazz clarinetists. He's got IT! The new Dalai Lama of the clarinet. We've been awaiting your wonderful tone, exemplary technique, cleverness and your hip-ness. He also has great influences. Russell, Giuffre, Daniels, etcetera. They're very apparent. He also plays one track on tenor sax and one on flute…Howell has the ability to become part of a very special fraternity of great jazz clarinetists…”—-jksp: Calgary, Canada (review on • Online User Review of “JAZZ CLARINET NOW” (CD) (2 of 2): “Great Stuff! This is really an excellent album. Everything Howell and his group do is satisfyingly adventurous, yet supremely entertaining. On this recording you will find a truly amazing balancing act between entertainment and exploration. Joseph is a virtuosic player, to say the least. But his humor and style make this recording worthy of several back-to-back hearings. Joseph twists his fingers around some sophisticated figures for sure. The players he's assembled here compliment his style perfectly, and they play an active role in all of his tunes. The standout track for me is ‘The Pot Melts.’ It REALLY grooves. I only wish it was longer! This is NOT YOUR OLD UNCLE LARRY on clarinet. It's new, hip, and really fun to listen to. You won't regret buying it, I promise.”—-Mark DeSimone (review on • Howell’s sideman performance on Rick Helzer’s CD “Face in the Mirror” was reviewed by David Dupont of One Final Note: Jazz and Improvised Music Webzine. May 16, 2005. in- the.asp Highlights: “But lesser known musicians shine as well here. ‘Tell Your Story (To Meade Lux Lewis)’ is a fortuitous combination of lead horn and style. In clarinetist Joseph Howell’s hands, the playful theme skips along under the leader’s carefully modulated stride that has just the faintest antique touch.” • Howell’s sideman performance on Rick Helzer’s CD “Face in the Mirror” was reviewed by James Taylor of All About Jazz. Highlights: “‘Tell Your Story’ is a fantastic duet between Helzer and Howell, sounding like Gershwin kicking it in the Bay Area.” • Featured in “Jazz on Campus,” Down Beat magazine. June 1999 (Volume 66, Number 6), pg. 72. Picture and short bio in recognition of winning second place in the Lincoln B. Selleck “Bix Lives” Jazz Awards Competition and awards from the International Association of Jazz Educators, the California Music Educators Association and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. • Mentioned by Henry Winkler in The Porterville Recorder. May 31, 1999. pp 1A and 5A. “Monache Stage Band Does it With Style.” Highlights: “…Joseph Howell, who at various times soloed on tenor sax, clarinet and bass clarinet…explored the wide range of subtle and not-so-subtle dissonances that make music interesting. One of Howell’s more imaginative and dexterous clarinet solos found Kusserow shaking his head repeatedly in awe. ‘He’s a monster,’ Kusserow said, leaning excitedly across the table. ‘Kids don’t play that way. Those notes he played – you can’t teach that. There’s a gift there you just have to admire.’ Shaffer agreed. ‘Kid’s fantastic,’ he said. ‘He’s ready for the big time now.’” • Featured in an article by Henry Winkel in The Porterville Recorder. unknown date in 1998 or 1999. pg 12A. “Appreciation for Tonal Versatility.” Highlights: “Talk to those who are knowledgeable about music and they’ll tell you Joseph Howell is a talent to be reckoned with.”

QUOTATIONS OF NOTE • ”...A brilliant virtuoso whose complete control over the clarinet and originality as both an improviser and a composer are very impressive...This is the most impressive debut by a jazz clarinetist in decades. One waits with anticipation to see what Joseph comes up with next!”—-Scott Yanow (Author of ten jazz books including The Jazz Singers, Bebop, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film). • ”You are a fine musician and handle your instruments as good or better than anyone I've heard”—-Buddy DeFranco (jazz clarinet legend). • “Joseph Howell is an astounding jazz clarinetist — a virtuoso with complete command of the instrument, a historian who knows the work of his predecessors inside and out, and a creative, original improviser who sounds like no one else. I expect that he will be one of the most important players of his generation in extending the role of the clarinet in modern jazz.”—-Allan Chase (Chair, Ear Training Department, Berklee College of Music). • ”Justifying the dogmatic newness of jazz and the equally ingrained reverence for tradition can be tough for any jazz musician – but for a guy who plays the clarinet, an instrument seemingly shackled to the swing era, and who likes to play straight-ahead music in small groups? Seems like a crippling proposition. But Joseph Howell's got the chops, and the appetite for risk, to make energizing music in spite of the circumstances...” - Capital Bop ( • “Joseph was especially good at presenting the intricacies of harmony in a concise, direct way. He taught me about harmony from the ground up, rather than jumping from one idea to another. Joseph has a full understanding of the variables improvisers face, so he can easily step into a student's shoes and prescribe specific exercises to address specific musical issues, much like a (medical) doctor. Dr. Howell was also the only teacher I had who would actually play through an exercise, step by step, with me. Something about playing so many of those chord tone and shape exercises in unison made them sink in more. Not only that, I experienced them more like real music, rather than boring exercises. Joseph is free with his knowledge, methodical, and patient.”—-Vivek Patel (former private jazz lessons student and fellow graduate of the NE Conservatory of Music; Vivek has recorded as a trumpeter on Paquito D’Rivera’s CD label). • “During the past six years, I have had the pleasure of knowing, working with and providing instruction for Joseph Howell. From the very beginning, I have felt that he was one of the greatest talents I have had the pleasure of working with in my fifty years of teaching school. He possesses a very high ability in the field of creative jazz. He also plays fine legitimate clarinet.” —- the late Frank “Buck” Shaffer, 1921-2006 (esteemed band director in Virginia and California from the 1940s through the 1990s).

  • Jazz Clarinet Now

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Primary Instrument:

Washington, DC

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COLLEGE TEACHING EXPERIENCE Undergraduate Courses • Fundamentals of Music Theory. Teaching Fellowship: Music Theory Department, New England Conservatory of Music. Fall 2007-Spring 2008. • Keyboard II and III (Labs of Tonal Practice II and III). Music Theory Deparment, NEC. Spring 2008. Teaching Assistantships • Teaching Assistant to Allan Chase. Jazz Styles: 1917-1955. NEC. Spring 2008. • Teaching Assistant to Katarina Markovic-Stokes. Expressionism in Music. NEC. Spring 2006. Ensembles Directed • Non-Majors’ Jazz Ensemble. Teaching Fellowship: Jazz Studies Department, New England Conservatory. Fall 2006 through Spring 2008. • Jazz Combo #3. San Diego State University. Fall 2004. OTHER CLASSROOM TEACHING EXPERIENCE • Full-Time Band Director for the Paul Effman Music Service. Fall 2010-Spring 2011. Taught beginning band instrument classes at eight private schools in the San Diego area. • Assistant Beginning Music Teacher at Bertrand’s Music (San Diego, CA). June 2004 through August 2004. 5th grade classes (2-30 students each). Beginning clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and violin. PRIVATE INSTRUCTION AND SECTION-COACHING EXPERIENCE Approximately 15 years of private studio instruction experience. Lessons given: beginning clarinet, recorder, trumpet, saxophone, classical piano, flute, jazz improvisation, rock drumset, jazz drumset, snare drum fundamentals, and jazz piano; advanced clarinet, saxophone, jazz improvisation, jazz theory, jazz piano comping, big band interpretation, and jazz composition/arranging.

Clinic/Workshop Information:
CLINICIAN/MASTERCLASS EXPERIENCE • Guest Jazz/Saxophone Clinician. Herndon High School. October 26, 2012. • Guest Clarinet Clinician. Herndon High School. October 25, 2012. • “Clarinet and Saxophone Day.” Escondido High School. January 24, 2009. • Jazz/Clarinet Masterclass. California Institute of the Arts. November 20, 2008. • Guest Presentation: “The Clarinet” at Orchestration seminar. Hired by John Mallia. • Guest Lecture: Performance Forum Class. San Diego State University. Spring 2005. “The History and Practices of Jazz Clarinet.”

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