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Ollie Howell Quintet
@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
5 July 2014

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Biography

Ollie Howell is a multi-award winning drummer, composer, bandleader and international recording artist. Currently based in London, and already establishing a name for himself both in the UK and abroad, Howell is wowing audiences around the globe with his creativity, dynamism and stunning improvisation, as well as a highly acclaimed repertoire of original music. Since 2009, Ollie has also become the mentee of musical legend Quincy Jones. Jones and Howell first met in 2009, whilst Ollie was studying a bachelor degree in Music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Jones recalls their first meeting:“When I arrived at the school, the jazz department had arranged a musical performance from its best students. Obviously, this happens to me a lot when I travel. But what doesn’t normally happen is for me to be floored by the performance of one of the musicians.” After first watching Howell perform, Jones quickly became Howell’s mentor and is still continually helping to propel his career and introducing him to stalwarts of the international jazz scene.

In 2012, Ollie Howell Quintet was awarded the prestigious Peter Whittingham Development Award, administered by the Musicians Benevolent Fund, which has become one of the most sought-after jazz awards in the UK. Born in Wallingford, UK, Ollie began playing the piano at the age of seven under the tutelage of a jazz pianist who introduced him to the blues, jazz and Art Blakey. The sounds of all three steered Howell towards the drums by age thirteen, and professional work as a drummer shortly thereafter. Howell graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class honours degree in Music, and whilst studying there Howell was presented with a special ‘Music Innovation Award’ from the National Welsh-American Foundation, honouring his commitment to new musical connections and projects between Wales and North America. In 2009, Howell was selected for a quartet showcasing Jazz talent in Wales, which was commissioned by the National Welsh Assembly for a tour to China.

Now signed to the prestigious Whirlwind Recordings, which has quickly become one of the most important up and coming labels, promoting music from all over the globe, Howell released his debut album “Sutures and Stitches” September 2013. Recorded in London, and mixed and mastered by New York based, 4-time Grammy nominee Tyler McDiarmid, this stunning debut, “Sutures and Stitches” contains a superb collection of original compositions, features some of the brightest emerging stars on the British jazz scene, and immediately received huge critical acclaim. As well as some incredible musical performances and compositions, this album also has an incredible back-story. In 2009 Howell was suddenly diagnosed with a brain malformation called Arnold Chiari Type 2, which meant that over the past few years, Howell has had to have several neurosurgeries, the latest being in April 2012. All of the music on this album was written during, and influenced by, the incredible journey that Howell went through during this defining point in his life. This stunning debut comprises a superb collection of original compositions that take some big inspiration from the diverse sounds springing from the contemporary London and NYC jazz scenes, a strong dedication to melodic and memorable themes, driving grooves and features some of the brightest emerging stars on the UK jazz scene.

In 2014, Ollie Howell was awarded a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship, in association with Ideas Tap. One of only 5 Arts Scholars (and the only musician chosen), Howell became the first ever jazz recipient of any Sky award, and will now be working towards his second album, as well as having a documentary on him and his group on Sky Arts in 2015.

Howell is also being mentored by jazz drumming legend Jimmy Cobb who, after hearing Howell play in 2009, quickly took him under his wing and is continuing to be incredibly supportive of Howell’s emerging career. In 2013, Howell and his quintet held a 2-night residency at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as the special guest support act for Jimmy Cobb and his group ‘Jazz Heads ‘, also featuring legendary saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis.

Howell’s electrifying performances, superb compositions, and explosive improvisation place him amongst the finest young jazz talent in the UK.

Ollie Howell is supported by Sky Academy Arts Scholarships, in association with Ideas Tap.


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Sutures and Stitches

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