(Brooklyn, NY March 10, 2016)

 

Howard J is the new refreshing voice of reggae music in New York.  Born in Jamaica and uprooted to Brooklyn with his mother in the 1980’s, Howard J has come full circle with his first album Seeker Return to Roots.  He’s an all-round musician and performer – excellent performing and recording artiste!  He wrote and arranged all the music on this album, which is co-produced by Cliff Hicks of TrackHeadz Entertainment.

 

Howard J’s love story with music began in the small fishing town of Port Morant, St. Thomas, Jamaica. He recalls that in his community there were at least three sound systems.  He would lie in bed listening to the bass rumble from miles away.  His grandmother wanted him to play the organ or piano in church and arranged music lessons with the local piano teacher Ms. Elliot. Ms. Elliot introduced Howard to classical music and church hymns.  Other early musical influence came from his grandfather who lived in Cuba for a while and would listen to Cuban news and Afro-Cuban jazz.  In addition, he has vivid memories of nights on the street corners DJing (rapping) reggae style. On occasion, he would go with his grandmother to clean the church (Methodist) and would convince her to let him play the organ just for “five minutes mama” he would start on a hymn then switch to reggae. He soon found that the dance hall rhythms of the day didn’t challenge his mind. Howard wanted a different flavor.

 

One day while searching through his cousin’s cassettes, he stumbled upon Third World.  He was fascinated with their arrangements - intros, more than two chords, bridge and solos. The prophetic voice of Bunny Rugs and profound lyrics left an indelible mark on him.  To this day, he states that he still listens to the same Third World music.  He then discovered Steel Pulse, Aswad, Black Uhuru and naturally Bob Marley. Like most aspiring musicians, he fell in love with Dennis Brown and had the honor of meeting the legend at Kingston Studios on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. “When I heard he was at the studio I called in sick and spend the entire day into the next morning at the studio watching the legend voice dubplate after dubplate with such ease and grace, even though he was clearly under the influence”. At some point during that memorable encounter Mr. Brown asked Howard when he was born and shook his hand saying, “ de I ah Gad you can do anything you want to”. Howard recalls getting emotional and took that statement to heart. After years of playing other genres of music, Howard J comes full circle to his root. Reggae.

 

The Seeker’s journey of Return To Roots is often self-critical and introspective (Why Cry).  While many strive to get back to the core of who they are, the answer is not in our obsession with technology, is not online, it is inside (Return to Roots). We need to be brave enough to unplug when necessary. Some of our greatest teachers are not in the classroom (Hold On Rastaman). Let your good spirit guide you always (By My Side) and remember there is always time to show your love (Love Season).  We must have the courage to question our faith and belief system (Seeker).

End.

 

Current Release


 Howard's eclectic taste can me heard in his music. This latest release brings his years of play in various bands covering different genres of music to the fore. The audience is always on a sonic journey.

Videos

Images

 

 

 

Quotes

 Good morning brother, I must first say I was glad that I made it to the release party. That said, I would like to congratulate you on some outstanding work. This is the best, most complete and conscious musical compilation i have bought in a long time. Your project is a master class. I have been listening to it all weekend and played it this morning for a friend and he loves it. He wanted to copy it and I told him no copies, he has to buy one. So of course I sold him mine.I do hope I can get it[another copy] for my afternoon ride, since this is now part of my musical rotation.

Keep up the good work.

Nigel Robertson

 

 

"Recording Artiste, Howard J, delivers remarkably, in his new CD album, "Seeker," as only one with a solid background in musical arranging and thoughtful social awareness in lyrical composition, can.

The tunes in "Seeker," are a reggae connoisseurs delight, as much as they are a fine introduction to the rudiments and the multiple extra-genre influences, that have shaped reggae, and which reggae, in turn, has impacted.

- Gerry Hopkin, JD
Managing Editor
Caribbean American Arts Review