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Ele Salif Howell

Born and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Elé Salif Howell officially began his drumming career at the tender age of two, with the gifting of his first drum set. Elé studied piano and composition with Art Khu, and played in after school Oaktown Jazz Workshops. He continued his music studies at NYU, where he met drum master Lenny White, forming a close apprenticeship that was decidedly old school. Elé credits his inspiration and influence from a variety of teachers, including his father, Richard Howell whom he has recorded several albums with (notably with Richard Howell and Sudden Changes), as well as Babatunde Lea, E.W. Wainwright, Khalil Shaheed, Larry Van, James Henry, Jack Dorsey, Sly Randolph and Angela Wellman.
At six years old, Elé first met Chief Adjuah (FKA Christian Scott) at Yoshi's in Oakland, Ca, where he sat in with the band. Today, Elé is on tour with Chief Adjuah, with upcoming shows across the world.

The Coltrane name has always been a part of Elé’s musical journey, and that remains relevant today, as he joins Ravi Coltrane, son of jazz legend and saxophonist, John Coltrane, band. 

“He’s a fabulous musician,” Coltrane says. “Just an excellent drummer who plays with a lot of heart and intensity. I love the way he rides the cymbal and plays the bass drum. You can hear a lot of the great modern drummers influencing him, and it’s important for older players to be around young players who have their own unique insights and takes on music.”
As a young drummer, Elé continues to write and compose, creating with inspirations from his immersive cultural experiences, travels and people who he meets along the way.

Some notable artists that he has worked with include Stanley Clarke, John Scofield, Gill Goldstein, Brandee Younger, David Gilmore, Elena Pinderhughes,  Weedie Braimah, Mike Rodriguez, Jeff Chambers, Alex Sipiagan, and more.

Elé plays Istanbul Agop Cymbals.


Album Review

Richard Howell: Moon Over Tiburon

Read "Moon Over Tiburon" reviewed by Jack Bowers

After easing past the words of praise for San Francisco Bay-area based saxophonist / educator Richard Howell's “spiritual connection" and the description of his work as “bridge music," uniting and merging the experiences of listeners, it sounds much like probative contemporary small-group jazz. Besides playing saxophone (and singing, on the soulful anthem “We Are All Connected"), Howell composed (and presumably arranged) every number on Moon Over Tiburon, a cerebral exercise that is heavy on group interplay and strong, close-knit rhythm, ...

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Richard Howell "Coming Of Age - Mangaku" Introducing Elé Salif Howell with Special Guest Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah

Richard Howell "Coming Of Age - Mangaku"  Introducing Elé Salif Howell with Special Guest Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

"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. Coming Of Age Mangaku Introducing Elé Salif Howell with special guest Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah featuring: Frederick Harris, Charles McNeal, Ravi Abcarian, Danny Armstrong, and ...

"On a jazz scene brimming with exceptionally gifted young drummers, Elé Salif Howell is rapidly earning a spot in the crowded top tier. A conspicuously talented accompanist before he reached his teens, the San Francisco native has thrived since moving to New York City in 2016, forging deep creative connections with leading contemporaries, mid-career masters, and revered veterans."

-Andrew Gilbert


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Treasures of the Heart

Ruby Star Records


Moon Over Tiburon

Pomona Sunrise Records


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From: Moon Over Tiburon
By Ele Salif Howell

We Are All Connected

From: Moon Over Tiburon
By Ele Salif Howell

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