There have been many, many guitar players influenced by H.R. Not just through his music but also through his extensive activities in music education. This part of the site is devoted to documenting some of those who have gone on to make notable contributions to guitar playing themselves; e.g. Mitch Holder, Carol Kaye, Clint Strong, Mike Anthony, Jeff Baxter. I'm just starting this so it will not be a complete list by any means for a long time. In any case, I'm going to start the list with two guitar players who have probably been the most influenced by H.R.
Jay has released (September, 2000) a CD called Son Of A Dirty Guitar Player - A Tribute. The front cover is displayed above. This is a wonderful jazz guitar recording and highly recommended! Jay is joined by Brendan Scanlan on drums, the great Joey DeFrancesco on organ, Dan Dean (who played with H.R. on Turning to Spring) plays bass on several selections and Eric Ried plays classical guitar on one song.
The first tune on this is H.R.'s Turista from H.R. is Dirty Guitar Player - a great version. The title of the CD and the selection of this tune make it apparent that H.R.'s presence is not far away. The H.R. influence is readily apparent too in Jay's playing but it is clear that he has developed into a great guitarist who brings his individual voice to the music. The CD also includes the tunes Freedom/Freddy (a medley of Freedom Dance and Freddy the Freeloader), Revelation, X.O. (written by H.R.), Joyspring, Blue in Green, Angel Eyes, Relaxing at Camarillo, Apache Nightmare and two written by Jay called Serenade and Ode to Masters. I'm glad the Howard Roberts tradition of great guitar music is continuing! Here is a review of the CD by Rowland Harris that appeared in Just Jazz Guitar, No. 27, May 2001, p. 132.
To get more information about the CD and how you can obtain it contact Jay Roberts at:
Roberts Music Institute
13417 NE 20th Street
Bellevue WA 98005
425 641 4RMI (4764)
By the way the picture on the front of the CD is the back of the Fender Broadcaster that H.R. used in his studio work. This is owned by Jay.
Madelyn is Howard Roberts' daughter. I've not heard her playing but several people have told me that she is an excellent musician and jazz guitarist. She has been serving as the President of the Phoenix local of the American Federation of Musicians for some time. She also runs the Desert Rat Dirty Guitar Player Society! I've come across several articles on the web about Madelyn that you can read here.
Mitch Holder is a Los Angeles based studio and jazz guitarist. He has appeared on countless recordings and on the soundtracks to many television shows and movies; for example, see the discussion under Equipment, concerning Mitch's performance on the soundtrack to the movie Space Cowboys. Formerly he played with the famous Tonight Show band under Doc Severinsen. He is currently a member of the jazz trio Thumbs Up, along with Carol Kaye and Ray Pizzi, and their CD (pictured above) is highly recommended. This is available from Carol Kaye's site (see Links). Mitch plays an H.R. Epiphone Custom on this recording. Here is a picture of Mitch with this guitar. He is also the owner of H.R.'s prototype Gibson H.R. Much of the information under Equipment comes from Mitch and there are many quotes from him.
An interview with Mitch Holder appears in Mitch Holder Goes Full Circle and Faces the New Millenium with Guitar in Hand by Charles Chapman, Just Jazz Guitar, No. 26, February 2001, 137-142 and a lesson by Mitch is provided there too. Another interview Mitch Holder: From Young Lion To Studio Veteran by Jim Carlton, June 9, 2001 is available online from the Classic Jazz Guitar site (see Links). There are lots of interesting comments about H.R. in this one and a soundclip of Mitch playing Green Dolphin Street with Thumbs Up..
Overall Mitch Holder is one of the key guitarists perpetuating the legacy of Howard Roberts. This is not only because of his excellent studio and jazz work, but for his obvious affinity and affection for Howard Roberts and his teachings.
Book on Howard Roberts Published by Mel Bay!
Jeff is a jazz guitarist and head of the jazz program at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been organizing jazz guitar clinics at Bellarmine for many years now. These have included some of the biggest names in jazz guitar including Howard Roberts and Jimmy Raney. Jeff became good friends with H.R. and was greatly influenced by him. Jeff is also the owner (see Equipment) of the guitar H.R. is pictured with on the front of The Real Howard Roberts.
Jeff released a CD (pictured above) in 2000 with Ben Ingram on bass and Bruce Morrow on drums. Jeff does a superb version of Maniac (on H.R.'s Somethings Cookin'). The liner notes (by Howard Alden) indicate that this was written for H.R. by Shorty Rogers. This is an excellent CD with a highly diverse selection of tunes. The CD can be obtained from Stork Music Productions.
Genil is an excellent guitarist from Brazil. He was born in Brasil 1965, started to play at 16 His main influences are Joe Diorio, with whom he studied, and Howard Roberts. Genil attended G.I.T. in 1983 and had the privilege of attending many of lectures by H.R. there. He also cites Lenny Breau, Ed Bickert and Pat Martino as other influences.
Genil doesn't have a CD commercially available yet but he sent me a copy of some things he has recorded and it is outstanding. The Lenny Breau influence is particularly noticeable. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find some videos of Genil's exceptional playing here.
Mike Anthony was for many years a studio guitarist in Los Angeles playing on movie soundtracks, television shows and recording with many major names in the entertainment field. He studied with Howard Roberts and, as related in an interesting article on his site, had his first session playing on one of H.R.'s recordings. H.R.'s confidence in Mike's ability can also be noted in an anecdote related to me by the composer of the Dialogue for Amplified Guitar and Chamber Orchestra (see under Music) where Mike was asked to fill in at the last minute for an absent H.R. in a rehearsal and sightread the work - undoubtedly a formidable task. Mike has recorded several CD's and I can attest to his excellence as a jazz guitar player. His mastery of numerous styles of guitar playing is outstanding. He has a number of CD's available from his site and these are highly recommended.
Mike Elliott is a jazz guitarist and former studio musician (Nashville) who was heavily influenced by Howard Roberts. His CD's and more biographical material are available from his website.
Mike recounted the following interesting anecdotes about H.R.
"You might be interested in the story of how I first met Howard. Sometime in the early seventies my bass player, Billy Peterson, played a gig in Minneapolis with Howard and afterwards brought him to his house to attend a jam session. I was playing when Howard walked in the room, didn't say a word, and laid down on the floor in front of me with his ear right in front of my amp. My fingers promptly fell off :) That was SO Howard, though I didn't know it at the time. We went on to become good friends, and did quite a bit of playing together until his untimely death. "
"Here's another "Howard" for you. About twenty years ago, Howard and I were doing a Gibson Guitar clinic out west somewhere. We were stretching pretty good and taking it out a bit, and about halfway through the show someone in the audience hollered, "We want to hear the OLD Howard Roberts"... Howard replied, "This IS the old Howard Roberts, you want the YOUNG Howard Roberts":-) "I really recommend Mike's CD Home Cookin'. This is a one-man band effort Mike created in his home studio (strings, big-band everything). Not only is the music great but the guitar playing is fabulous.
Ron is a longtime friend and disciple of Howard Roberts. He and H.R. were the creators of the great Benson amps (look under Equipment for more on this). Ron is also a fine guitarist and recently sent me a copy of a CD called Ron Benson Caught! In the Act of Playing Jazz... just for the hell of it! The guitar parts (bass, rhythm and solos) were all played by Ron. I believe he used a 90's version of the Epiphone H.R. and it sounds great. You can really hear the H.R. influences in his playing.
Ron has produced a second CD called Swan Song # 2 which he kindly sent me (June 2012). This is another fine recording of great tunes. The playing is outstanding! Thanks Ron and I hope there are more to come.
Chris is a professional guitarist in L.A. and has written a nice memoir of H.R. at GIT.
Certainly Howard is one of the best players around today. He is pictured playing a Gibson Howard Roberts here. Below are some comments passed along by Howard.
"First of all, I want to thank you for establishing and maintaining your wonderful website on Howard Roberts-a great resource, and also a nice reminder of all the great memories I have of Howard and the things I learned from him. Just a couple of tidbits. I looked at the "influenced" page, and want to say I did indeed study with Howard, in various settings. First, a 3 day seminar at Valley Arts Guitar Store in Studio City in 1975, then a series of weekly small group classes from 1976 into 1977, then as a student the first year of GIT 1977-78 (also spending quite a few late nights helping him assemble the class material for the upcoming weeks). Apart from the guitaristic and musical things I learned from him, he passed along innumerable insights into performance, music business attitude and professionalism, and aesthetic considerations, all with a relaxed sense of humor. He was definitely a major mentor to me, whether he realized it at the time or not.
Also, I did play the Gibson Howard Roberts Artist model constantly, from 1979 until 1992, when I started playing the 7-string guitar. The first HR model, a dark burgundy colored one, Howard had gotten for me from Gibson at cost at the time (a really big favor). I also played a blonde one for a few years 1989-92. When Bob Benedetto made my first 7-string for me, he wanted to see what I had been playing, to make my guitar comfortable for me. He actually offered to make the oval hole, like the HR model, and I think the sound exceeded his expectations."
Earl Dummer played professionally for many years with the Shenandoah Trio which was quite popular during the 60's. He took lessons from H.R. Here is an email I received from his son Randy Dumont that describes his career and some interactions with H.R.
A phenomenal player, Clint regularly credits H.R. as a major influence. Clint has many videos up on Youtube that are well-worth checking out. Here are several videos where he talks about this.