Howard Alden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Howard Alden
Howard Alden.jpg
Background information
Born (1958-10-17) October 17, 1958 (age 57)
Newport Beach, California, United States
Origin New York City
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Seven-string guitar, tenor banjo
Years active 1973–present
Labels Concord, Arbors Records , K2B2 Records, Delmark Records

Howard Alden (born October 17, 1958)[1] is an American jazz guitarist born in Newport Beach, California.[2] Alden has recorded many albums for Concord Records, including four with seven-string guitar innovator George Van Eps.


Early life[edit]

Howard Alden was born in Newport Beach, California in 1958. He began playing the 4-string tenor guitar and banjo at age ten. After hearing recordings of Barney Kessel, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and other jazz guitar greats, he got a six-string guitar and started teaching himself to play that as well. As a teenager he played both instruments at various venues in the Los Angeles area.[3] He studied guitar with Jimmy Wyble when he was 16. In 1977–78 he studied jazz guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood with Howard Roberts, where he eventually assisted Roberts in organizing and preparing his curriculum materials. Alden then conducted some of his own classes at GIT.[4]


Alden made his first trip to the east coast in the summer of 1979, playing in a trio led by the legendary vibraphonist Red Norvo for three months at Resorts International in Atlantic City. Alden moved to New York City in 1982 to play an extended engagement at the Café Carlyle with jazz pianist/songwriter Joe Bushkin. Soon afterward, he was discovered by Joe Williams and Woody Herman. In 1983 he was already collaborating with Dick Hyman, when he appeared with him and a host of other musicians at Eubie Blake's one-hundredth birthday concert.[5] In 1988, Alden signed with the Concord Jazz record label and recorded many albums with them over the following fifteen years as a leader and sideman.

Personal life[edit]

Alden lives in Manhattan.[6] On January 10, 2015 he was married to Diane Carmen Garcia in San Marino, California.

Sweet and Lowdown[edit]

Alden recorded the guitar performances for Sean Penn's character Emmet Ray in Woody Allen's 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown, and taught Penn how to mime the performances for the film. The score also featured Bucky Pizzarelli on rhythm guitar and arrangements by pianist Dick Hyman.[7]


  • 1990 – "Best Emerging Guitar Talent" poll winner in JazzTimes
  • 1992 – "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" from Down Beat
  • 1993 – "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" from Down Beat
  • 1995 – "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" from Down Beat
  • 1996 – "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" from Down Beat
  • 2003 – "Guitar Player of the Year" – American Guitar Museum
  • 2008 – Recognized as one of the "Top 75 Guitarists" by Down Beat


Year Album Leader Label
1985 "No Amps Allowed" Howard Alden & Jack Lesberg Chiaroscuro
1986 "Swing Street" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1988 "Swinging into Prominence" Howard Alden Famous Door/Jazzology
1988 "Plays the Music of Harry Reser" ( w Dick Hyman, piano) Howard Alden Stomp Off
1989 "The Howard Alden Trio Plus Special Guests Ken Peplowski & Warren Vache" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1989 "The ABQ Salutes Buck Clayton" Howard Alden & Dan Barrett Concord Jazz
1990 "Snowy Morning Blues" w/ Monty Alexander Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1991 "13 Strings" w/ George Van Eps Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1991 "Misterioso" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1991 "Hand-Crafted Swing" Howard Alden & George Van Eps Concord Jazz
1992 "Good Likeness" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1993 "Seven & Seven" Howard Alden & George Van Eps Concord Jazz
1994 "Keepin' Time" Howard Alden & George Van Eps Concord Jazz
1994 "Your Story: The Music of Bill Evans" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
1994 "Encore! Live at Centre Concord" Howard Alden & Ken Peplowski Concord Jazz
1995 "Concord Jazz Guitar Collective" Howard Alden, Frank Vignola & Jimmy Bruno Concord Jazz
1996 "Take Your Pick" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
2001 "The Jazz KENnection" Kenny Davern & Ken Peplowski Arbors Records
2001 "Live in Belfast" Frank Tate Nagel-Heyer
2002 "My Shining Hour" Howard Alden Concord Jazz
2003 "In A Mellow Tone" Howard Alden & Bucky Pizzarelli Concord Jazz
2004 "Live In '95" Howard Alden & Dan Barrett Concord Jazz
2005 "Everything I Love" Howard Alden & Dave Cliff Zephyr Records
2006 "Howard Alden's UK 4 Live at Lewes" Howard Alden Woolf Notes
2006 "Maurice Hines: To Nat King Cole With Love" Maurice Hines Arbors Records
w/ Kenny Davern
Arbors Records
2007 "Howard Alden and Ken Peplowski's Pow-Wow" Howard Alden and Ken Peplowski Arbors Records
2010 "I Remember Django" Howard Alden – featuring Anat Cohen & Warren Vaché Arbors Records
2013 "Heavy Artillery" Howard Alden – Andy Brown Quartet Delmark Records 5008
2014 "Guitar" Howard Alden – Solo Seven-String Guitar K2B2 Records 4469


  1. ^ Kennedy, Gary (2002). "Alden, Howard (Vincent)". In Barry Kernfeld. The new Grove dictionary of jazz, vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 26. ISBN 1-56159-284-6. 
  2. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encycolpedia. London: Penguin Books. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-141-00646-3. 
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott (2000). Swing: Third Ear—The Essential Listening Companion. Backbeat Books. p. 388. ISBN 0-87930-600-9. 
  4. ^ "Howard Alden @ Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz NPR". Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  5. ^ Levin, Floyd (2002). Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians. University of California Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-520-23463-4. 
  6. ^ "Benedetto Guitars profile". Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  7. ^ Bailey, Peter J. (2003). The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen. University Press of Kentucky. p. 310. ISBN 0-8242-0493-X. 

External links[edit]