Multi-instrumentalist, saxophonist, vocalist, Richard Howell has explored a vast spectrum of music. His powerful, sensually melodic saxophone playing has been heard with artists as diverse and definitive as blues/jazz/soul legends Etta James, Chaka Khan, Maurice White, Narada Michael Walden, Della Reese, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden, Hilton Ruiz, Bernard Purdie, Buddy Guy, Bobby Watson, Regina Carter, Jimmy Smith, Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Louis Walker, Ledisi, Taj Mahal, to such progressive Latin/Afro/rhythmic pioneers as Willie Bobo, Bill Summers, Pete Escovedo, Mingo Lewis, John Santos. His prodigious skills and talents as producer and musician have been shared with Babatunde Lea, Vivendo de Pao, The Mo’ Rockin Project, Omar Sosa, el Houssaine Kili, Upsurge, The Supplicants. In summer 2008, Richard was guest performer with Carlos Santana in Leipzig, Germany. He was a special guest of Salif Keita at Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, California. Richard has also performed at the Mali Music Conservatory with Fra Fra Sound and Tumani Dibate in Bamako, Mali, West Africa.
Richard Howell 's early alliance and interchange with saxophone great Don Myrick and Justo Amario has guided many of Richard’s musical adventures: Justo Amario opened the way of understanding the saxophone by instilling both discipline and expression. The late Don ("play so beautiful!") Myrick was Richard's friend, mentor and teacher. He inspired a consciousness of tonality and the creating of beauty and passion through the saxophone. Both Richard and Don immersed themselves into the saxophone playing of Cannonball Adderley. Don not only shared his experiences, but he generously shared his world-famous horn section, The Phoenix Horns Esq. of Earth, Wind & Fire and Phil Collins, with Richard Howell's productions and introduced Richard to many industry legends.
Learning the trade of music production in Los Angeles, California, Richard Howell supervised lots of productions for many production houses. He would gather the talent of musicians from groups and members of various bands, such as: Alex Acuna, Diane Reeves, Billy Childs , Undisputed Truth, Lakeside Express, The Silvers, LTD, Ricky Larson, Earth,Wind & Fire, Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, The Surf Punks, Beach Boys, Rose Royce and so many more. Productions ranged from demos for solo artists, singer songwriters, sound tracks for theater productions, film shorts to radio commercials. Within these productions Richard´s duties often were to perform as bassist, drummer, keyboardist, guitarist, percussionist, composer and arranger, as well as some engineering responsibilities.
Richard Howell’s roots are deeply imbedded in jazz music, the entire Howell household had no other choice then to listen to the wonderful recordings of Count Basie, and the radio was always tuned to the jazz stations. Richard's father purchased hundreds of jazz records and would expose his children to the proud accomplishments of what his father referred to as "the music of Africans here in North America". Whatever his father wanted to label it, Richard lived and breathed Jazz daily. One day Mr. Howell Sr. came home with the music of John Coltrane and handed it to Richard along with his exclusive permission to use the stereo, triggering a long-time love affair ... Enter the music of Duke Pearson, Dexter Gordon, Stanley Turrentine, Roy Haynes, Jazz Crusaders, Charles Toliver, Jackie McClean, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Gerald Wilson, Roland Kirk, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Charles Lloyd, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Doug and Jean Carn - all mixed with the God Father of Soul James Brown.
Multi-instrumentalist, saxophonist, vocalist, Richard Howell has explored a vast spectrum of music. His powerful, sensually melodic saxophone playing has been heard with artists as diverse and definitive as blues/jazz/soul legends Etta James, Chaka Khan, Della Reese, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden, Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Louis Walker to such progressive Latin/Afro/rhythmic pioneers as Willie Bobo, Bill Summers, Pete Escovedo, Mingo Lewis - to name a few.
Richard Howell is one of the premiere saxophonists in the Bay Area, often the first call for recordings, live shows, events and private parties.
Not only according to critics, Richard´s live performances have been well received:
"He embodies the simplicity of elegance..." ( Keith Hines, kcsm- the bay area´s jazz station)"The charismatic, communicative Jazz saxophonist from San Francisco brings out the role of jazz as a grassroots art form.... Jazz expert or not, you can internalise the emotional effect" (Lionel Haas, Jazzradio 101.9 Berlin)
He is currently active:
- Performing throughout Europe with his own bands made up of European and African musicians.
- Contributing his skills and talents with musical artists like Omar Sosa, Samba Sock, el Houssaine Kili, Embryo and others.
In San Francisco, California:
- An integral member and the producer of the popular Brazilian influenced band VDP World Rock Project.
- Jazz education in the public and private schools and youth correction facilities as a member of the "African Roots of Jazz" founded by E.W.Wainwright.
- Jazz education in public and private school with Oaktown Jazz Workshop founded by Khalil Shaheed.
- Music education for the young and old together with James Henry's Samba Samba Rhythm Workshops.
- Performing regularly in the improvisation ensemble "The Supplicants" the jazz-poetry ensemble " Upsurge" and the Bay Area`s soulful Big Belly Blues Band.
Founded RC Howell Music, an internet multimedia service of the same name, a music production company that produced the following cds:
- "Terreiro de Sao Francisco" and "Scratch Cooking Vol.1" for Vivendo de Pao.
- "Mountain to Mohammad" for el Houssaine Kili of Tropical Music.
- "March of the Jazz Guerrillas" for Babatunde Lea of Ubiquity Records,
- "All Hands on Deck" and "Chromatology" for Upsurge! Jazz Poetry of Abolition Records.
- "Start at Home" for Howell and Henry of H&H Records.
- "In Harmony" for Peter Barclay.
- "My Father`s House" for Native Son.
- "A Perfect Night in San Francisco" and
- "Outlyer" for Richard Howell of AudioEmissary Records.
Recorded and/or performed with various artists, such as:
- James Henry
- George Michael and Ray Charles
- Kristina Olson
- Baron Chase
"Streetwise yet spiritual tenor sax", All About Jazz
"He embodies the simplicity of elegance..." , KCSM, the Bay Area's Jazz Station
"The charismatic, communicative jazz saxophonist from San Francisco brings out the role of jazz as a grassroots art form...Jazz expert or not, you can internalize the emotional effect", Jazzradio 101.9 Berlin
"Viviendo de Pao is keeping the samba torch burning...featuring the superb sax/vocals of Richard Howell.", Jesse "Chuy" Varela, Latin Beat
"I have the deepest respect for his musical abilities. He walks in the same path as the great ones: Joe Henderson, Don Myrick to be mentioned in the same light. I have a great belief in his talents. He will continue to make contributions in the time to come."
Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire
E.W. Wainwright an internationally acclaimed jazz drummer, performing arts consultant, and producer has enjoyed an impressive career, represented by his command performance for the U.S. State Department and performances at Carnegie Hall and with Nelson Mandela's USA tour in 1990. In his 40+ years in the entertainment industry, he has performed with numerous artists among which include Mark Almond Band, Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobby Hutcherson, John Handy and Joe Henderson. Founder of African Roots of Jazz Performing Arts Academy in 1977, the academy honors the cultural heritage/roots of students whose ancestry began on the continent of Africa, as well as exposing students to the origins of many other cultures. Artists and performers of various ethnic backgrounds are an integral component to the academy.
Destiny Muhammad, Sound Sculptress, combines harp and vocal to create a soundscape that captivates her audience. She currently rewrites classic recordings specifically for the harp and creates original pieces of her own. Some of Destiny’s performances include: Narada Michael Walden, recording with India, Irei, Walt Disney Concert Hall, musical maestra for the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Black Choreographers “Here and Now,” “The Secret” visionary Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith’s Revelations Conference. Destiny is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and current Governor Elect for NARAS, Bay Area Folk Harp Society, the American Harp Society, A S C A P and endorsed by Triplett Harp Company.
Frederick Harris has done extensive work as concert and jazz pianist, music director, educator and coach in S.F. bay area. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Rebecca Parris, Kurt Elling, Barbara Morrison, Buster Williams, Chico Freeman, Bobby Watson, Billy Hart, Regina Carter, and others, as well as bay area artists, including The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, ex-bay area trumpeter Eddie Henderson, Eddie Marshall, Madeline Eastman and Dr. Margie Baker. He is a recitalist, recently doing concerts and master classes in Arizona (USA) sponsored by Sherman Clay/ Steinway & Sons, with engagements pending in Portland, OR (USA). He has toured extensively in the U.S. and abroad, with Idris Ackamoor, the St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, and with Chico Freeman/The Leaders.
Gary Brown – Bassist; In the past 25 years, Gary has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East where he has recorded and shared the stage with Flora Purim & Airto, Pharaoh Saunders, Steve Winwood, Narada Michael Walden, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Santana, Ernie Watts, George Duke, Andy Narrell, Pete and Sheila (Sheila E) Escovedo to name a few. As a member of Terra Sul he composed and co-produced on their cd “Kindness of Strangers” (Motown jazz label MoJazz). In addition to the co-writing and arranging, Gary also shares a producer credit with drummer Celso Alberti for recording artist Zaza’s ambitious cd “Book of Kings.”