Richard Howell Quintet
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Richard Howell Quintet

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz World


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This band has not uploaded any videos




Richard Howell Quintet at Yoshi’s San Francisco By James Adams

Certain artists have a presence that draws you to them. It’s difficult to describe, but by watching and listening to them, sometimes, before they’ve played a single note, you know you’re going to connect with them.

Bay Area-based Richard Howell is one of those artists. This veteran musician, vocalist and educator is usually seen and heard touring the world in the bands of other great musicians. Leading or not, whenever he’s onstage, you can feel that presence. Howell recently showcased his new band at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. The Monday night audience was filled with a host of family and long-time friends-one from as far away as Denmark. The performance was also taped for upcoming CD and HD Video releases, both due out in late 2008.

The band features a number of locally known musicians, including Fred Harris on piano, Gary Brown on bass, E.W. Wainwright on drums, and Destiny, harpist from the ‘hood. Anyone not familiar with the use of a harp in a jazz ensemble would benefit from some research into the seminal works by the late Alice Coltrane. In fact, the style of Howell and the arrangement’s use of the harp, conjures up memories of the sound created by Coltrane and her frequent recording partner, Pharaoh Sanders.

In a somewhat unusual beginning for a jazz performance, Howell’s longtime friend and comedian, Timothy Jackson, opened with a short stand-up routine. As he was coming to the end of his routine, segueing into the band introductions, Howell could be heard playing, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” from backstage. He then emerged from the wings, still playing, while the rest of the band took their places onstage.

To open, he engaged the audience in a conversation, first to thank them for being a part of this important musical event, then to provide perspective on the origins of this group and it’s direction moving forward.

Introducing the opening song, Howell was intentionally ambiguous in terms of the title. In essence, he was getting the point across that the title was far less significant than the piece itself.

As he laid it out, you began to understand that it was music “in the moment.” Now, whether or not it was a previously written and rehearsed piece remains an interesting mystery. The closeness of this unit, their ability to connect with each other musically and spiritually, makes it easily feasible that they could perform an entire set, freeform.

Howell’s compositions and this band’s interpretations combine to create music that connects with one’s soul. The up-tempo pieces embody the atmosphere of celebration and festivals. In the ballads, a tone of meditation and spirituality replace the all too frequent sadness and melancholy.

A high point in the set, and what had to be a very proud moment for Howell, took place when his son, El Salif, joined the band on stage for a number.

The younger Howell is a student of Wainwright, and has become quite a versatile musician. He is not quite a teenager yet, but has already adopted the drumming style of the legendary Elvin Jones. Both his grade school and piano teachers were in attendance, and after a solo piece on the djembe, Wainwright and his father joined him on an improvised percussion piece.

As with any joyous occasion, no one wants it to end. This one did, after almost running into the start of the second set. The band is preparing to tour Europe before making the rounds around the country. Somewhere along the line, I’m sure a recording session will be in the works.

In any case, this set of performances is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2008. Make sure to keep it on your radar.


Booking contact ONLY:
510 532-7870




DESTINY harpist from the 'hood,



"Richard Howell"

"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." - Jazz Radio 101.9 Berlin

"Richard Howell"

"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

"Monday 5-5-8"

San Francisco Chronicle Datebook 5-4-2008
“This Week” Picks

Monday 5-5-8
Richard Howell

Tenor saxophonist Richard Howell, who’s also adept at playing a number of other instruments, is not a guy you hear too much about, but he’s a lively force on the local scene, tirelessly devoted to spreading the jazz gospel, with an accent on African influences. Howell’s Coltrane-inspired sax playing is in high demand – he’s been hired by Etta James, Chaka Kahn, Don Cherry, Buddy Guy and many others. Tonight Howell leads a group with drummer E.W. Wainwright, pianist Fred Harris, bassist Gary Brown and Destiny, “harpist from the hood.” For a sample of Howell performing, go to $16-$20. 8 and 10p.m. Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St, San Francisco.

- San Francisco Chronicle Datebook


*****New Quintet CD*****
(!!!Sept -2009 visit their website to purchase!!!)
"The Richard Howell Quintet We Are All Connected"

"A Perfect Night In San Francisco" Richard Howell
"Outlyer" Richard Howell





The Richard Howell Quintet is a stellar all-star cast of artists featuring Richard Howell on saxophone and vocals, E.W. Wainwright on drums, Gary Brown on bass, Frederick Harris on piano and Destiny Muhammad on harp and vocals. The quintet’s theme is to demonstrate the exuberant, rich cultural heritage and definitive musical elements inherent in jazz…spontaneous creativity! The core concept explores accessible melodies, grooves and a spiritual tribute to those who came before us.
They honor the old and new traditions in the music and weave the old and new into an innovative presentation of the music. They create improvised compositions at each performance. Every performance is purposely designed to be inclusive with the audience.
The audience is an essential part of the performance.
The quintet is infectious and playful. Their music can create a gateway for persons to journey through time, space and dimension. Their music awakens the senses. Some of the audience responses include, people feel the love and connection, people feel pride to have the ancestors represented, people feel good, happy and inspired and want more.
As one observer shared, “It’s fun to watch the artists interact and be part of the creation of the music, it makes me feel good and I leave happy.”
The artists fundamentally agree that we aren’t free until we all are free.

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 Liepzig, 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.

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.

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.”

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 eng