Sunday Night Jazz Showcase
Program #317 (February 14 at 8:00 p.m.)
Born in Newport Beach, California, in 1958, Howard Alden began playing at age ten, inspired by recordings of Armstrong, Basie and Goodman, as well as those by guitarists Barney Kessel, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and George Van Eps. Soon he was working professionally around Los Angeles playing in groups ranging from traditional to mainstream to modern jazz.
In 1979, Alden went east, for a summer in Atlantic City with Red Norvo, and continued to perform with him frequently for several years.
Upon moving to New York City in 1982, Alden's skills, both as soloist and accompanist, were quickly recognized and sought-out for appearances and recordings with such artists as Joe Bushkin, Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Warren Vache` and Woody Herman.
Howard Alden has been a Concord Jazz recording artist since the late '80s where his prolific recorded output as leader, co-leader, and versatile sideman, has captured an artist of consistently astonishing virtuosity and originality.
One of the many highlights in Howard Alden's fruitful association with Concord Jazz came in 1991 when, at the urging of Concord President, Carl Jefferson, Alden recorded with one of his all-time heroes, seven-string guitar master George Van Eps on the album Thirteen Strings .
As a result of his associating with - and inspiration from - George Van Eps, Alden has been playing the seven-string guitar since 1992. Alden also teamed up with fellow guitarists Jimmy Bruno and Frank Vignola to record a three guitar outing entitled The Concord Jazz Guitar Collective.
Howard can be heard on the soundtrack to the 1999 Woody Allen movie "Sweet and Lowdown", starring Sean Penn, who was also nominated for an Academy Award for his role as a legendary jazz guitarist in the '30s. Howard not only played all the guitar solos, but also coached Mr. Penn on playing the guitar for his role in the film.
Howard Alden was voted "Best Emerging Talent-Guitar" in the first annual JazzTimes critics' poll, 1990, and "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" in the 1996, 1992, 1993 and 1995 Downbeat critics' poll. In February of 2009, Howard was recognized as a “Modern Maestro”, one of Downbeat Magazine’s 75 Great Guitarists of all time.
(provided by Howard Alden)