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Howard Alden

In the 1980s, small-group swing made a comeback due to young musicians who thoroughly understood the style. Rather than merely recreating the past, they chose to extend the tradition and add their own original voices to the music. Howard Alden was the leading guitarist in the movement and has since taken his place as one of the greats of jazz. Born in Newport Beach, Calif., in 1958, he began playing guitar when he was 10. As a teenager, Alden worked mostly in the Dixieland and trad jazz scene, doubling on banjo. He played with Red Norvo, recorded with Bud Freeman in 1982 and moved to New York. Since then he has played with virtually every important musician active in the swing and bop fields including Ruby Braff, Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Flip Phillips, Woody Herman, Joe Williams, Wild Bill Davison, Judy Carmichael, Warren Vache, Mel Powell, Kenny Davern, Ken Peplowski, Monty Alexander, Dick Hyman, Randy Sandke and Joe Bushkin. He co-led a classic group with Dan Barrett in the late 1980s and recorded a steady string of rewarding recordings for Concord, including duet guitar albums with George Van Eps. Along the way he has recorded an outstanding tribute record to the virtuoso 1920s banjoist Harry Reser, has explored the music of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, and has accompanied his wife, singer Terry Richards. Alden is a regular at classic jazz festivals, jazz parties and cruises.