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Howard Alden


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Howard Alden (born October 17, 1958) is an American jazz guitarist born in Newport Beach, California. He has recorded a long series of albums for Concord Records. His performances were dubbed over Sean Penn as ‘Emmet Ray’ in the 1999 Woody Allen film Sweet and Lowdown. He has produced several albums with George Van Eps.

Howard Alden began playing tenor guitar at age ten and the banjo in his teens. As a teenager he played both instruments at various venues in the Los Angeles area. By 1977 he was studying jazz guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California with Howard Roberts. Alden was discovered after moving to New York City in 1982 by Joe Williams and Woody Herman. In 1983 he was already collaborating with Dick Hyman, when he appeared with him and a host of other musicians at Eubie Blake’s one-hundredth birthday concert. In 1985 Alden signed with Concord Jazz record label, and has since recorded many albums with them.

He helped teach actor Sean Penn to play guitar in the Woody Allen film “Sweet and Lowdown”, instructing him on finger placement. Alden also performed much of the music for the film along with Bucky Pizzarelli, with the music arranged by pianist Dick Hyman.

* 1990 - “Best Emerging Guitar Talent” poll winner in JazzTimes
* 1992 - “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” from Downbeat
* 1993 - “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” from Downbeat
* 1995 - “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” from Downbeat
* 1996 - “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” from Downbeat


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  • ruda-owieczka

    amazing! I'm mesmerised ;)

    29 Dec 2009 Reply
  • vicmorenos

    The genious guitar player behind Woody Allen´s fictional character Emmet Ray on Sweet and Lowdown. One of the best jazz guitar player I´ve ever heard.

    15 Oct 2009 Reply

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