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.
I put two and two together and realized that I liked listening to jazz and was playing a jazz instrument in the public school band program.
Your sound and approach to music:
My natural instinct is to go for energy and density so I combat that by finding ways to take my time and to restrain myself.
Your teaching approach:
While having a plan in your mind somewhere is necessary (as well as automatic after years of experience), you have to be able to spontaneously adjust your preplanned notions to the needs and mannerisms of the student at all times.
Your dream band:
I like a lot of different kinds of stuff, but I think it would be awesome to interact with Wynton Marsalis
, if ever possible. I like that he mixes the tradition with modernisms.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
The time a key fell off of the contra-alto clarinet when I was playing with an wind ensemble seconds before I had to play an entirely unaccompanied solo. I hurried and motioned the nearest clarinetist to hold the key back in place while I played the solo!
I really love the vibe at the Eubie Blake Center in Baltimore.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
It changes so often that I'd have to change this answer every day and I don't want to get addicted to that.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
A good tone and some new harmonic things sometimes.
Did you know...
I love Indian food! And I also love listening and watching programs made by great comedians like Louis CK, Todd Barry, Ricky Gervais, Larry David, Doug Stanhope, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, Nick DiPaolo, Sarah Silverman, and so many others.
CDs you are listening to now:
In the car, I've recently enjoyed these artists: Jerry Bergonzi