Washington Blues Society winner for the 2016 International Blues Challenge, The James Howard Band is the serendipitous collision of four Seattle based musicians, each with a world trajectory of experience and influence that provides substance and dimension to their music. The band is centered around Howard’s guitar mastery, catchy songwriting and soulful vocals. The JHB rhythm section is fueled by bass virtuoso Farko Dosumov, the creative drumming of John Stout and keyboardist Michael Baxter.
Howard’s guitar virtuosity and emotional presentation have propelled him from finalist in Guitar Player Magazine’s Hendrix Contest to Best Blues Guitarist in the 2011 Yamaha Global Guitar Competition. His maverick style is indefinable, drawn from many genres and influences. He’s even backed up Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter, and performed a Flamenco duet in front of a 25-piece orchestra at Benaroya Hall. He seems comfortable in almost any musical setting, not changing, chameleon-like, but immersing himself and adding his essence revealing different layers of his talent.
Howard, himself, defies labels, except to say he is a contributor, a curator of music. He sees his job as a musician to contribute to community, to act as a channel for the music, to learn and discover as much as create and transform. He is always becoming; always emerging.
Sparks ignite when the James Howard Band hits the stage with a sound that mixes blues, jazz and rock into a truly remarkable and exciting original style. Howard has released six CDs, the most recent being an album of iconic rock ballads performed as guitar instrumentals.
Born in Oakland California in 1963, Howard began playing classical acoustic guitar at 12, and blues/rock electric lead guitar at 13. His early influences include Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Jimmy Page. Howard worked as a sideman guitarist throughout the 1980’s touring the US playing 5-6 nights a week. He has been leading his own band since 1994 where he built a following in California traveling to Los Angeles to play at BB King’s Blues Club in Hollywood before re-settling in Seattle WA., where he has played the Triple Door, The Columbia City Theater and The Highway 99 Blues Club.