Dylan Howe is an acclaimed and versatile drummer, bandleader, composer and arranger.
Mostly self taught from an early age, he is best known for his work with Ian Dury and the Blockheads (joining in 1998), his father Steve Howe's groups, extensive session work and leading his hard bop quintet and other jazz projects since 2002.
He is currently promoting his new Stravinsky piano/drum duo album The Rite Of Spring Part 1 on his Motorik Recordings label and also can be seen playing in Wilko Johnson's group, The Blockheads, touring with The Steve Howe Trio among others and can be heard on the recently BAFTA nominated score for the Ian Dury biopic: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
Howe has performed live and recorded with such notables as: Nick Cave, Damon Albarn, Portishead, Ray Davies, David Gilmour, Paul McCartney, Mick Jones, Robert Wyatt, Gabrielle, Stan Sulzmann, Pete King, Gilad Atzmon, Guy Barker, Byron Wallen and Courtney Pine. Also, DH's recent solo albums were awarded Jazz CD of the week in the OBSERVER and LONDON EVENING STANDARD.
Early days: 1979-1989
Dylan started playing drums when he was 10 and was going to gigs since he was four.
One of his earliest memories of playing is picking up sticks to jam with his dad Yes guitarist Steve Howe in 1979, in their tiny converted bathroom/studio in Hampstead on a Ludwig kit brought from Alan White.
DH had his first gig at his school that year and became professional at 19 in 1988.
Being exposed to so much music from a very early age had a profound effect and with access to a formidable family record collection DH was interested and inspired by all styles and eras of 20th century sound. This led him to become known as a versatile and open mined musician, with a natural feel for different genres and a way to keep each sounding authentic on the drums.
Pivotal moments for the young DH were; going to the Montreux Jazz festival aged 8 and seeing Buddy Rich at Ronnie Scott's Club at 13, seeing David Bowie during his Serious Moonlight tour in 1984 and Stevie Wonder the following year at Wembley Arena.
He is mostly self-taught, but studied with Bob Armstrong for six months in 1990 (before being 'sacked' for not practicing!) and spent two afternoons with 'uncle' Bill Bruford and a brief afternoon with US session drummer Jonathan Mover (on an enormous double-sided kit not knowing what to do...).
His 20's - 1989-1999
Howe was playing at West End clubs five nights a week before his 20th birthday and briefly ran nights at Soho jazz club The Shack, playing in the house band and running their jam session. He began to make his name on the London scene, helped by a four-year stint in the house-band of the Original Songwriters night at the Orange in Kensington among others.
Throughout the nineties and early noughties DH worked on his jazz playing, gigging with:
Philip Bent, Lillian Boutte, Denny Ilett. Gilad Atzmon, Stan Sulzmann, Pete King, Guy Barker, Byron Wallen, Jim Mullen, John Etheridge and Courtney Pine among others.
Though during this time Howe operated almost exclusively in the pop session world, with credits including:
Gabrielle, Chaka Khan, Sam Moore, Channel 4's Light Lunch and Late Lunch, Lewis Taylor, Curtis Steigers, Nick Cave, Damon Albarn, Portishead, Ray Davies, David Gilmour, Robbie Williams, Leon Ware, Tom Jones, Portishead, Hugh Cornwell and Paul McCartney.
Also work with producers Trevor Horn, John Leckie, Andy Wright, Nigel Godrich, Richard Niles, Biff Stannard and Guy Chambers.
DH's session credits span over 50 albums and hundreds of live TV appearances, arena tours and performances at major festivals worldwide.
A turning point for Dylan was joining seminal UK group The Blockheads in 1998 (touring and recording with Ian Dury from '98 to his death in 2000). He remains an active member, with four albums recorded, including drums the 2010 biopic Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll; for Chaz Jankel's BAFTA nominated jazz score of as well as re-recording the classic tracks with The Blockheads and lead Andy Serkis. They are about to enbark on a 16 date UK tour in April 2010 to promote their new album Staring Down The Barrel (EMI).
DH has also had a long musical association with his father Steve Howe appearing on ten of his solo albums and touring with his electric group 'Remedy' in 2004 (including a live DVD) and most recently with his Hammond organ group - The Steve Howe Trio, in the UK and Canada, to promote the new live album Travelling (Howesound 2010).
Leading the quintet, new projects and re-imaginings 2000-2010
Dylan formed his acclaimed Blue Note-styled quintet in 2003, releasing four albums and touring the UK intensively since then. Often compared to to the groups of Roy, Elvin Jones and Art Blakey, Dylan's group featured many young up and coming players from the London jazz scene.
The group was often featured as critic's choice and CD of the week and also featured on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Records Request, Jazz Lineup, Thejazz and Late Junction, wIth interviews and features in Jazzwise and The Guardian Guide,
Throughout 2003-2007 the quintet toured extensively throughout the UK with performances at:
Ronnie Scott's, Pizza Express Dean Street, Jazz Cafe, Southbank Centre, London Jazz Festival, The Sage Gateshead Jazz Festival, Scarborough, Swanage, Coventry, Marlborough, Canary Wharf and Luxembourg festivals and specially selected by Portishead to appear at All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) in 2007; among many others.
Also iconic Soft Machine drummer and vocalist Robert Wyatt sang with the quintet in 2007, marking his first live performance in some 20 years, they plan to collaborate on DH's next album.
In 2007 DH began to work on new projects, finding his niche in rearranging and reimagining
New adaptations of classic works (often in partnership with pianist/organist Ross Stanley), these included:
The Subterraneans - a 12-piece reworking of David Bowie's albums Low and Heroes.
This was previewed in the London jazz festival in 2007 at London's Cargo with Serious.
It featured jazz sextet, four piece string section, Adrian Utley; guitar/ electronics (Portishead), Gilad Atzmon and Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers).
A Larry Young styled Hammond group - 'Dylan Howe's Unity 4' - featuring Ross Stanley, Mike Outram and Tony Kofi. Playing specially adapted Young, Woody Shaw and Ornette Coleman compositions, touring the UK in June 2008.
Dylan Howe / Will Butterworth Duo - a drum and piano duo playing Stravinsky.
DH and young pianist Butterworth spent a year reworking The Rite of Spring and Firebird suite for improvisation. Their debut album was released in March 2010 on Howe's Motorik label.
'Superlative drummer/pianist duo reinterpreting Stravinsky's finest movements via freewheeling jazz.' Time Out
'Thrilling...packed with big gestures and catchy hooks. It's fresh and Âimmediate and engaged the full house...digs out Igor's Slavic jazz soul without losing the work's essence.'
John L Walters - The Guardian
Most recently during 2009/2010, DH produced, arranged and played on former Slits' guitarist Viv Albertine's EP Flesh, joined Wilko Johnson's trio, gigged and recorded with Get The Blessing, Beth Rowley, Mick Jones and The Rotten Hill Gang, Tamco, Canadian guitarist Tony Smith, James Morton's Porkchop, Kid Harpoon, Alison Moyet and the Steve Howe Trio.
Dylan's main influences are:
Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Philly-Jo Jones, Stewart Copeland, Dennis Davis, Al Jackson Jr, Bernard Purdie Steve Gadd and John Bonham,
John Coltrane, Miles Davis, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Yes, Igor Stravinsky, The Police and Blue Note, Impulse and Stax record labels.
Howe is endorsed by:
Zildjian Cymbals, Gretsch Drums, Hardcase and Protection Racket cases