Ok, there are serious musicians and then there's world renowned violinist Christian Howes. I've played with him a couple of times now and I'll only say that I've met very few musicians that can manage to sustain the creative intensity I see from him on a daily basis. He's a true artist and like most true artists he's a technical master. He is also a master educator and leads a yearly summer creative strings workshop that is second to none anywhere in the world.
He moved to Asheville about a year ago and I'm thrilled we have a musician of this caliber living among us who seems open to playing in all kinds of configurations. His styles run the gamut, from rock to classical, bluegrass and jazz. And he gets some amazing sounds of his violin. Writing music for him should be a blast, as should playing his challenging originals. I hope you make it out to hear this special edition of Take Two!
Jazz violinist Christian Howes grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where he studied classically from the age of five, performing as a soloist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at age 16 and later receiving his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Ohio State University.
At age twenty, a “cultural intervention” occurred when Christian had the opportunity to perform at regular gospel church services. “Playing in the gospel church services influenced me to change musical directions. The experience was so different from the classical music world; it felt fresh and inspiring. It became my mission to become a violinist with a strong voice in jazz.” Since his shift 21 years ago, he has gained great notoriety from critics and players alike as one of the world’s most respected jazz violinists. Christian was a favorite of the late Les Paul, with whom he worked for 11 years. Says Christian of his mentor, “Les defied categorization in terms of age or genre. His character, approach to life, and musicianship taught me many valuable lessons.” From 2001-2010 Howes become an in-demand violinist on the New York scene, collaborating with a bevy of top shelf jazz artists, including Greg Osby, D.D. Jackson, Frank Vignola, Joel Harrison, Dafnis Prieto, Dave Samuels, Spyro Gyra, and a 4-year chair in Bill Evans’ “Soulgrass” band.
In 2013, he was voted among the top three violinists in JazzTimes’ “2012 Expanded Critics Poll“. In August 2011, Christian was ranked as the #1 “Rising Star” violinist in the Downbeat Critics Poll. He was a nominee for the Jazz Journalists Association’s “Violinist Of The Year” in 2011. In 2012, he received the Residency Partnership from Chamber Music America for his work in outreach with orchestral education programs. He regularly tours throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S. as a leader of his own groups and a soloist with orchestras. Says All About Jazz, ”as a jazz violinist he has no peer.” The Minneapolis Tribune called Christian “arguably the most intriguing young violinist in jazz.” According to the Chicago Reader, “Not since Jean Luc Ponty has a violinist ranged from pure classical to fuzz-tone rock to convincing jazz with such authority.”
After releasing a string of independently released CDs as a leader, he signed with Resonance Records in 2008 and released two critically acclaimed CDs. The first, “Heartfelt,” featuring pianist Roger Kellaway, features ballads and lyrical works. “Out of the Blue” released in 2010 features guitarist Robben Ford, and demonstrates a wide range of modern and traditional sensibilities, steeped in the blues. His newest release, “Southern Exposure,” featuring accordianist Richard Galliano, draws from a hispanic sphere of influence. A former Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music, he is also the founder of the Creative Strings Workshop and Festival, which convenes during the first week of July every year in Columbus, Ohio. Says Howes, “The Creative Strings Workshop and Festival offers string players from Columbus and around the world an opportunity to study improvisation, composition, and styles outside the realm of classical music, while bringing the city of Columbus a plethora of talent and musical energy.”
In 2011 Howes launched an online lessons website, the “Creative Strings Academy,” which boasts the largest enrollment worldwide of string players studying jazz and improvised music.
Since 2007, he has also built an innovative online production business, “Christian Howes String Recording,” which provides live string sections and more to music producers worldwide via a remote, collaborative “virtual” orchestra.
Christian is an active blogger and clinician, frequently engaged to speak regarding music education and music business at schools and conferences.
CLICK HERE To Visit the performers website.
William Bares completed his PhD in ethnomusicology in 2009 at Harvard University under the mentorship of Ingrid Monson, Harvard’s Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music. He is currently teaching jazz harmony and improvisation at Harvard and working on a book entitledEternal Triangle: American Jazz in European Postmodern. His scholarly career has been devoted to refining a framework for the study of historical and contemporary transatlantic jazz. This website is a reflection of his evolving interdisciplinary and international perspective.
He is also a bandleader and multi-instrumentalist (piano, trumpet, drums, guitar, ukulele) who has played professionally for many years. Much of his performing has taken place overseas, where he has shared stages with some of the biggest young stars of the European jazz scene. He continues to maintain strong musical connections to Berlin and Oslo, where he did extensive fieldwork; Omaha, his hometown; Miami, where pursued his Master’s degree from 1996-1999; Boston, where he also directed Harvard’s graduate school big band for several years; and New York, his current residence.
As a scholar, and in dialogue with the Harvard Group for New Music (HGNM), Bares continues to probe the boundaries between composition and improvisation. Inspired equally by jazz, minimalism, and African akadinda and balafon music, he has explored ways to integrate shifting improvised right and left-hand ostinatos into his solo and group playing. This technique can be heard in his live recording Evanescent, which was featured in an hour-long program entitled “New Music at Harvard” on German public radio (Deutschlandfunk).
ABOUT THE TAKE TWO JAZZ SERIES:
From Dr Bill Bares:
Past Participants Include:
From Dr Bill Bares:
First of all, I love the sound and feel of their piano.
Second, I felt that a series that puts WNC's A-list jazz musicians out front, alone, with just piano accompaniment, would spotlight their individual artistry in a valuable way. We plan on recording performances and releasing them as a series patterned after Concord's "Live at Maybeck" piano series.
Last, I thought that holding such a series on a Monday at 7:30 would make it noncompetitive with other jazz offerings in the area. That time slot sends the message: "it's all about the music," which I am confident you will find phenomenal. For the roster I have selected area musicians (one different instrument each month) with substantial fan base, individuality and with whom I have a good rapport. I am looking forward to widening this circle in subsequent years.
Past Participants Include:
Andy Page (guitar)
Billy Cardine (dobro)
Brian Felix (piano)
Brian Felix (keyboards)
Hong Waltzer (guzheng) + Greg Waltzer (electronics)
Jacob Rodriguez (saxaphone)
Jason DeCristofaro (vibraphone)
Jonathan Scales (steel drums)
Justin Ray (trumpet)
Lyndsay Pruett (violin)
Matthew Richmond (vibraphone)
Michael Holstein (bass)
Michael Jefry Stevens (piano)
Michael Libramento (guitar, bass, percussion)
Michael W. Davis ( percussion)
Patrick Lopez (trumpet)
Richard Shulman (piano)
Rick Simerly (trombone)
Rockell Scott (vocals)
Russ Wilson (vocals)
Serpentine Arborvitae (vocals)
Zack Page (bass)