Owen Howard, originally from Edmonton, Canada, has performed and recorded with the likes of Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, Tom Harrell, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman, George Garzone, Dave Holland, Eddie Henderson, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton and many others. He has appeared on over forty recordings to date, including five under his own name, and has toured extensively throughout Europe, the United States and Canada. With more than twenty years of successfully leading his own bands, Howard is clearly an artist successfully following in the footsteps of legendary drummers/bandleaders such as Tony Williams, Peter Erskine, Billy Hart, Jack DeJohnette, Paul Motian, Al Foster, Shelly Manne and others.
Now with the release of his seventh CD, Drum Lore Vol. 2 - More Lore, the follow up to the critically-acclaimed, 2011 Juno Award Nominated, Drum Lore (on BJURecords), Howard continues to celebrate and interpret music composed by drummers, and also feature more of his own compelling compositions. Where Vol. 1 was conceived as a studio recording of sorts, with each piece featuring a different configuration and concept, the second installment of the Drum Lore project gives the listener a taste of what the group sounds like in its working quintet format, featuring Adam Kolker (soprano & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet), John O'Gallagher (alto saxophone), Frank Carlberg (piano), Johannes Weidenmueller (bass) and the leader Owen Howard (drums).
Drum Lore Vol. 2 offers up seldom heard originals by Philly Joe Jones and Joe Chambers, as well as popular works by Victor Lewis, Paul Motian and Tony Williams. The remainder of the recording is comprised of recent original compositions by the leader. Highlights include, "Hey, It's Me You're Talkin' To", one of Victor Lewis' most well known compositions; Joe Chambers' "Ungano" (from the Bobby Hutcherson Blue Note album, Medina); "Haiku", a composition that Howard composed at the piano in about ten minutes. "After stating the 5-7-5-syllable form, the soloists are free to interpret at will. It's quite different each time we perform it", said Howard; "Like Buttah","my take on rhythm changes, which incidentally pays homage to Sonny Rollins' 'Oleo' (which was a butter substitute back in the day)"; and "Got To Take Another Chance", "a fun little piece by Philly Joe Jones that is based on the chord changes of 'Take The 'A' Train'. I extracted the horn riff and ending bit from the Max Roach/Clifford Brown version of 'A Train' (from the record, A Study in Brown). I love Max's train ending on that cut. Straight up fun!," said Howard; "Mumbo Jumbo" by the late great Paul Motian, and "Pee Wee" by the legendary Tony Williams.
The birth of Drum Lore took place at a summer jazz workshop where Howard was one of the several "artists-in-residence". The drummer explains further, "As we were getting ready for a discourse on the finer points of our various approaches to composition, one of the participants said to me. 'Owen, why are you here? You're a drummer, and this is a composition class? Well, how does one answer a comment like that? Rather than being offended, I took it upon myself to dispel this myth that drummers can't, or don't, compose." The brilliant result was Drum Lore (released in 2010 on BJURecords), a recording of great stylistic diversity, dedicated to exploring compositions exclusively by many of the revered drummers of our time. As Joe Lovano has stated, "some of the hippest bandleaders and composers in jazz, have come from the drum chair"; so many that Howard now offers Drum Lore Vol. 2, and has at least several more CDs worth of music composed by drummers that he'd like to record, so be on the lookout for the possibility of "Drum Lore, Vol. 3" in the future.