Darnell Howard

Darnell Howard (July 25, 1895 in Chicago – September 2, 1966 in San Francisco) was an American jazz clarinetist and violinist.

Howard began playing violin at age seven, picking up clarinet and saxophone later in his youth. He played professionally with John H. Wickcliffe's Ginger Orchestra from 1913 to 1916, then moved to New York City in 1917, where he played and recorded as a violinist with W. C. Handy.

From there he headed to Chicago, where he led his own band, played with Charlie Elgar, and then joined James P. Johnson's Plantation Days Band, which toured London in 1923. The next year he toured Europe again as a member of the Singing Syncopators, and also played in Shanghai with this ensemble later in the decade. While in Chicago he played with Carroll Dickerson, King Oliver, and Erskine Tate. He led a quartet in 1928, and also played with Jimmy Wade's Dixielanders that year. From 1929–1930 he played with Dave Peyton, then worked briefly with Jerome Carrington before being hired by Earl Hines, with whom he played clarinet, alto sax and violin from 1931 until 1937. Howard's great jazz violin is featured on the Hines band's marvelous February, 1933 recording of the ahead-of-its-time Earl Hines/Jimmy Mundy swing composition "Cavernism".

In the late 1930s Howard freelanced, then played with Fletcher Henderson and Coleman Hawkins at the beginning of the 1940s. He put together another band in Chicago from 1943 to 1945; he played with Kid Ory in California for part of 1945, then returned to Chicago and played with Doc Evans, among others. In 1948 he was once again in California with Muggsy Spanier, playing with him until 1953. Howard's only recordings as a leader were done while he worked with Bob Scobey in 1950, amounting to only four sides. He also played with Jimmy Archey early in the 1950s, then rejoined Earl Hines to play Dixieland jazz in San Francisco from 1955 to 1962. He was with Don Ewell on his 1956–1957 albums as well.

After 1962 Howard suffered a prolonged illness, and after recuperating he played with Elmer Snowden, Burt Bales, and his own groups. Around 1964 or 1965, Howard could be found playing weekends at a pizza joint called LaVal's on Euclid Avenue in Berkeley. He played largely with a pick-up band of local amateur musicians (often including the San Francisco comedian Mal Sharpe on trombone). On some nights Howard was joined by Pops Foster). In 1966, Howard toured Europe as a member of the New Orleans All-Stars, then fell ill again and died later that year.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 25th, 1905 (Chicago), Died September 2nd, 1966 (San Francisco)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1926 - 1940

Roles Represented in DAHR: clarinet, alto saxophone, violin

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-36283 10-in. 9/21/1926 Sidewalk blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with talk instrumentalist, clarinet  
Victor BVE-36284 10-in. 9/21/1926 Dead man blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with talk instrumentalist, clarinet  
Decca C 533 (E 3556) 10-in. 7/23/1926 Tack Annie Dixie Syncopators ; King Oliver instrumentalist, clarinet, alto saxophone  
Decca 39356 10-in. 2/12/1935 Disappointed in love Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 39357 10-in. 2/12/1935 Rhythm lullaby-1 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 39358 10-in. 2/12/1935 Japanese sandman-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 39359 10-in. 2/12/1935 Bubbling over-1 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, clarinet, alto saxophone  
Decca 39360 10-in. 2/12/1935 Blue because of you-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 39361 10-in. 2/12/1935 Julia-3 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 93027 10-in. 6/4/1940 Frogtown blues Tiny Parham instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 93028 10-in. 6/4/1940 Moving day Tiny Parham instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca 93029 10-in. 6/4/1940 Spo-de-o-dee Tiny Parham instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca C 9461 10-in. 9/12/1934 That's a plenty-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, violin  
Decca C 9462 10-in. 9/12/1934 Fat babes-1 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, violin  
Decca C 9463 10-in. 9/12/1934 Maple leaf rag-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, violin  
Decca C 9464 10-in. 9/12/1934 Sweet Georgia Brown-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, violin  
Decca C 9465 10-in. 9/12/1934 Rosetta-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, violin  
Decca C 9474 10-in. 9/13/1934 Copenhagen-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca C 9475 10-in. 9/13/1934 Angry-3 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca C 9476 10-in. 9/13/1934 Wolverine blues-3 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca C 9477 10-in. 9/13/1934 Rock and rye-2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet  
Decca C 9478 10-in. 9/13/1934 Cavernism-1, 2 Earl Hines Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, violin  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Howard, Darnell," accessed November 27, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/204690.

Howard, Darnell. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 27, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/204690.

"Howard, Darnell." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 27 November 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/204690

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