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George Howard
George Howard
March 22, 1998
 Age 41
Lymphoma / Colon Cancer
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OBITUARY:

Saxophonist George Howard Passes at 41

GRP recording artist George Howard died yesterday morning, March 22nd, in Atlanta, GA at the age of 41. Howard had been diagnosed with Lymphoma and his condition had deteriorated over the past few months. He is survived by two sisters, Mary and Doris, and by a daughter Jade.

Services for the saxophonist will be held on Friday, March 27th, from 12:00 PM until 2:00 PM (EST) at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Howard's hometown of Philadelphia. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent in care of Nite Lite Productions, 23622 Calabasas Road, Suite 101, Calabasas, CA 91302.

Howard first gained recognition as a player while touring with Grover Washington Jr. at the dawn of the 80s. In 1982 he began a prolific recording career going on to make eleven recordings for GRP Records including the 1985 hit Dancing In The Sun. Last  year, GRP released a Best-Of anthology along with what would be Howard's last recording Midnight Mood. The saxophonists  influences included John Coltrane, Sonny Fortune, Eddie Harris and Wayne Shorter.

 

ATLANTA (AP) -- George Howard, a jazz saxophonist known for his fusion style and signature rhythm and blues covers, died Sunday of colon cancer. He was 41.

Howard released his first album in 1979. He released his 15th album, "Midnight Mood," this year. He rose to prominence in the mid-1980s with his third album, "Dancing in the Sun.'' His biggest hit was "Shower You With Love,'' released in 1990.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Howard performed at a hospitality house for the continent of Africa, which also influenced his music after a visit there.

 

Biography:
 

    George Howard's polished fusion of funk, jazz and urban soul helped the soprano saxophonist become one of the most popular contemporary jazz performers of the '80s and '90s. Since he concentrated on groove and overall sound instead of improvisation, Howard never received much attention from jazz critics, but he retained a large audience well into his second decade of performing.

    Howard began his musical career in the late '70s. He received his first break when Grover Washington Jr., one of his musical idols, invited him on a tour in 1979. The tour helped establish Howard's name, and in 1982 he released his debut album, Asphalt Garden, on Palo Alto. The record was a moderate hit, as was its follow-up, 1984's Steppin' Out. It wasn't until the 1985 release of Dancing in the Sun that Howard earned a large audience. The album reached number one on the contemporary jazz charts. Following the release of Dancing In the Sun, he moved to MCA, where he issued A Nice Place to Be, Reflections, Personal and Love Will Follow. All four records were considerable successes on the charts. In 1991, Howard signed to GRP, releasing his debut Love and Understanding that year. It was followed by Do I Cross Your Mind in 1992 and When Summer Comes in 1993. A Home Far Away was released in 1994, and Attitude Adjustment was issued in 1996. All of his GRP recordings were quite successful, confirming his place among the most popular contemporary jazz performers of the '90s. His first five years with GRP, plus a selection of his MCA recordings, were summarized on 1997's The Very Best of George Howard. Howard returned to recording with Midnight Mood, which was released in January 1998.

    Sadly, it was the last record he would release in his lifetime. He died unexpectedly March [22], 1998. A few months later, his last recording--a version of Sly Stone's There's A Riot Goin' On, which was conceived as part of Blue Note's cover series -- was released. -- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG


Jazz Review -- Photos and Bio
Tokyo Blue Note Photo Page
DAL Page  (fusic.com)


 
 
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