Bob Howard made a remarkable number of recordings during 1935-38, enough to fill up five LPs. With the popularity of Fats Waller, Howard was signed by Decca as competition but he never came close despite the utilization of some notable sidemen. Howard moved to New York in 1926 and performed as a solo act. He was a fixture on 52nd Street in the 1930's, including at the Hickory House, Park Central Hotel and the Famous Door among others. Howard recorded five selections during 1931-32 for Columbia (three solo sides that included his vocals and two duets with trumpeter Manny Klein). A decent pianist, Howard stuck exclusively to goodtime vocals during his Decca period and among the other players on his records were Benny Carter (on trumpet and alto), trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Marty Marsala, clarinetists Buster Bailey, Barney Bigard, Cecil Scott and Artie Shaw, pianists Teddy Wilson, Frank Froeba, Zinky Cohn and Billy Kyle, guitarist Teddy Bunn, drummer Cozy Cole, tenorsaxophonist Ben Webster and cornetist Rex Stewart! However, after being dropped by Decca in 1938, Howard only recorded two further songs (a couple of obscurities for Atlantic in 1947). During the late 1930's he was at Mamie's Chicken Shack in New York accompanying singer Billy Daniels. Bob Howard remained active at least into the 1950's, having his own pioneering television show for a time on CBS but he is largely forgotten today. Fortunately all of his Decca recordings were reissued on five Lps by the European Rarities label in the 1970's. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

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