Primary Instrument: Piano
Ted Howe was born in Boston with a fascination for sound from the day he was born. A penchant for sound from a toddler may not always be a parent's dream. However, this love of sound grew as did that of the Red Sox from the attention he received from his Uncle Oly, who introduced him both to jazz and to baseball. Young TED listened to every jazz album he could find, attended many jazz concerts and quickly found his favorites amongst Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans.
Ironically, it was his younger sister, Donna, who received weekly house calls from Sid Tratenberg, a fine Boston pianist and teacher, while young TED listened to the lessons from upstairs.
One day, half way through a lesson, Donna threw up her hands in frustration, declaring she was finished with the piano. Realizing the family had already paid for an hour, Tratenberg offered the remaining thirty minutes to TED with whom he had already been listening to jazz on TED'S custom made audio system after Donna's lessons.
And so, TED was pulled from an intense listening mode to a piano bench and for the first time began creating many of the sounds with which he had been so fascinated.
Recognizing a natural ability immediately, Tratenberg encouraged TED to continue lessons. Within one month, TED had completed many of the standard beginning piano method books. Within a year he was playing Bach to Ellington.
It was then that Tratenberg brought TED HOWE over to his own teacher, HARRY SMITH, at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, to become a student of SMITH, one of the legendary founders of the school, engaging TED in his tender teens to study at the highest level while still attending high school.
TED'S natural persistence and relentless fascination of developing his craft dominated his life. He soon became not only a student at Berklee, but a professor of piano arranging, theory and improvisation -- all before reaching the age of 24.
After a two year stint as a pianist in the Army, a career as a bank teller opened up -- as did a gig at a local supper club. Much against family advice, HOWE followed his heart and became bandleader at one of Boston's leading live entertainment venues, THE SURF SUPPER CLUB, playing and conducting for some of the biggest acts of the time. It was at the Surf that HOWE honed his craft of arranging -- a strong point that to this day sets him aside from other gifted pianists.
Now living in Los Angeles and a SUMMIT RECORDS recording artist, HOWE continues to record, produce, arrange and perform extensively. His newly released LOVE SONG, already garnering praise for HOWE'S signature mischievous and innovative trio arrangements along with virtuostic solos, pays homage to HAROLD ARLEN, COLE PORTER and JAMES VAN HEUSEN in a significantly new way. Typical of HOWE'S profile, the package is not complete without surprises: for a tribute to love songs of the golden years has been done so often, HOWE'S uniquely complex, yet accessible arrangements and composition of original love songs of the present makes LOVE SONG the quintessential album of romance -- both youthful and mature.
LOVE SONG debuts HOWE'S own love songs, written with his partner, lyricist and Executive Producer, REBEKAH MILLER. The MILLER & HOWE songs are lovingly sung by star of stage, film and television, LAINIE KAZAN, as she says, wrapping herself around the lyrics. Renowned and beloved jazz baritone, GIACOMO GATES, takes on the jazz ballads with the relaxed enunciation for which he is known -- transporting the listener to the tropics with Howe's arrangements including Brazilian percussion and a few surprises along the way. MISS KAZAN sings the title song, LOVE SONG, and as MILLER's lyrics conclude, whether it's an old song, or a new song, the heart of a tender love song still beats strong. . .
The trio includes bassist, JIM DeJULIO, who toured with FRANK SINATRA for ten years and was MIKE DOUGLAS' bass mainstay for the duration of his television show; bassist CHRIS CONANGELO, currently touring with JACK JONES as well as DOC SEVERINSON; and young lion, MATT SLOCUM on drums -- as JOE LaBARBARA says, the spice in the equation -- who tours with jazz vocalist, SARA GAZAREK.
HOWE'S other releases on SUMMIT include, ELLINGTON, released in 2005. This accidental CD, evolved from a touring show paying homage to HOWE'S idol, then was recorded for choreography rehearsal for a local dance company. The music felt like a CD from the start. So, Howe added a few tunes, playing with his longtime friends, bassist, NEAL STARKEY and drummer, JERRY FIELDS. The album has continued to enjoy rave reviews and a lengthy stay on the JAZZWEEK airplay chart. HARVEY SIDER'S review in JAZZ TIMES began, One master paying tribute to another . . . Howe's high points never end. Fluidity like this is rare. . . GLENN ASTARITA from ALL ABOUT JAZZ noted, Fused with snappy rhythms, Latin slants and brisk swing vamps, the trio succeeds in instilling a personalized approach into familiar territory. Familiar territory, indeed, as the album was dedicated to HOWE'S UNCLE OLY, who introduced him to Ellington and his love of jazz.
Also released in late 2005 was ELTON EXPOSED, a jazz interpretation of ELTON JOHN'S music, featuring JOE LaBARBERA on drums, and JOHN PATITUCCI on bass. This trio clicked and took off like lightning in a bottle. With PATITUCCI'S delectible arco bass and LaBARBERA'S mastery on the drums, the CD was destined for success. HOWE'S tender and emotional solos complimented the hot Philadelphia grease of the album. Once again, TED HOWE had brilliantly tackled music beloved by the public and turned it on its ear in an accessible way. HOWE was dubbed an arranging maniac by PATITUCCI -- and the album inadvertantly became a must have for any ELTON fan on the ELTON JOHN FAN CLUB web site -- perhaps a first for any jazz CD. JIM SANTELLA, in a review for ALL ABOUT JAZZ commented, a piano excursion through territory that few jazz artists find the time to consider. . . In Howe's hands, pop music swings like Ellington and sways like Basie. And from JAZZWEEK, TED HENDRICKSON observed, Howe and company harvest all the emotion. . . ELTON EXPOSED truly reveals the masterful musical mind of Howe.
Through the years, HOWE has continued performing, composing, arranging, producing and teaching. After his stint at Berklee and time on the road, he became bandleader at the CLUB ATLANTIS in the HYATT REGENCY HOTEL in Atlanta, performing again with many of the great entertainers of the day and continuing relationships with performers who called on his services each time they came to town, such as MEL TORME -- who refused to sing with anyone else on his visits to Atlanta.
HOWE also joined the faculty of Georgia State University where he helped set up its first jazz education program. TED also became pianist for the ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA'S summer pops series -- again performing with both new and old friends at the peak of their game.
Two recent projects of note include, AN EVENING OF DUKE ELLINGTON, starting as a salute to one of his first idols, then becoming a ballet with the Ruth Michell Dance Theatre, choreographed by members of the Alvin Ailey Company. The ballet was entirely HOWE'S arrangements of DUKE's music set to dance. Premiering in Atlanta to a glowing reviews in the spring of 2003, the ballet repeated to sell out houses again in 2004.
The second project, debuting in the spring of 2005, AND THEN THE DANCE FOR DAWN, a suite for viola and piano, was performed in Dallas by members of the DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at the NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER. TED HOWE was the only living composer to be chosen for this prestigious event and was welcomed into the symphonic community with open arms.
HOWE'S EVENING OF DUKE ELLINGTON began and continues to be a trio performance, touring college campuses, jazz societies and concert venues. HOWE takes one of his first idol's music through an eclectic array of styles, always respecting the original intent of the music. The show features educational and anecdotal material on the DUKE delivered by the ever diverse showman, TED HOWE, whose passion for learning has never diminished -- and whose unique voice brings virtuosity to the piano, the recording studio and the stage.
Elton Exposed - Summit Records
Ellington - Summit Records
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