Albums With Howard Roberts As Leader

Below is a listing of the albums Howard Roberts recorded as leader. When I particularly like a recording I've noted this. Also I've noted the date, label, composers and other players when this information was available to me. Of some note is the number of interesting instrumentals composed by Howard Roberts. These are records unless specified as a CD.

The Jazz Discography, Volume 19 by Tom Lord, Lord Music Reference and Cadence Jazz Records, 1998 has been a big help in completing the information here. That discography does contain one apparent error; namely it refers to an album by the Howard Roberts Chorus and Orchestra. I believe that this in fact refers to the *other* Howard Roberts who was a choral director/arranger and worked with Lena Horne and many others. This confusion also exists in the All Music Guide.

Also quite helpful was The Clef/Verve Labels: a discography compiled by Michael Ruppli with assistance from Bob Porter, Greenwood Press, New York, 1987 in sorting out when the selections on Mr. Roberts Plays Guitar, The Velvet Groove, Movin' Man and Good Pickin's were recorded. From this it is clear that Mr. Roberts (56-57) was his first album followed by Good Pickin's/Movin' Man (59) and The Velvet Groove was a compilation.

There was also an album issued in Europe on Capitol called The Howard Roberts Quartet - Soft Swing. This is a compilation album with tracks from Jaunty Jolly, Whatever's fair and HR is a Dirty Guitar Player.

Mr. Roberts Plays Guitar

1956, 1957 - Verve - reissued in 1981.
Selections: Seranata Burlesca (Marshall), I Hear A Rhapsody (Fragos-Baker- Gasparre), The Innocents (Montrose), Ah Moore (Cohn), Indiana (Hanley-MacDonald), Indian Summer (Herbert), Jillzie (H. Roberts), My Shining Hour (Arlen-Mercer), Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Van Heusen-Burke), An Orchid For Miss Sterling (Friedhoffer).
Personnel: trombone - Bob Enevoldsen, reeds - Herb Geller, Don Davidson, Harry Klee, Bob Cooper, piano - Marty Paich, bass - Jules Bertaux, drums - Alvin Stoller and unnamed string players.
Session: An Orchid For Miss Sterling, Ah Moore, Indian Summer and Serenata Burlesca were recorded in Los Angeles, October 22, 1956. The Innocents and My Shining Hour were recorded in Los Angeles, November 9, 1956. I Hear A Rhapsody, Indiana and Jillzie were recorded in L.A., January 17, 1957. Serenata Burlesca also appears on the Rhino/Guitar Player compilation Legends Of Guitar-Jazz Vol. 1.

Mr. Roberts Plays Guitar has been released on CD by Fresh Sound FSR-CD 478, January 2008. The CD also includes the tracks previously released on an album called Collections 1957 - Score SLP-4031 that include Howard Roberts. The additional tunes are: Sweet Georgia Brown, Little Girl, Have You Met Miss Jones?, A Ghost Of A Chance, I've Got The World On A String with personnel: drums - Joe Morello, bass - Ben Tucker, piano - Gerald Wiggins, vibes - Red Norvo, guitar - Howard Roberts.

Good Pickin's

1959 - Verve MG V-8305 reissued on CD in 1999 as POCJ-2755
Selections: Will You Still Be Mine (Adair-Dennis), When The Sun Comes Out (Arlen-Koehler), All The Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II), Lover Man (Ramirez-Davis-Sherman), Relaxin' At Camarillo (Parker), Godchild (Wallington), Easy Living (Robin-Ramirez), Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (Arlen-Koehler), The More I See You (Warren-Gordon) Terpsichore (H. Roberts).
Personnel: tenor sax - Bill Holman, piano - Pete Jolly, bass - Red Mitchell, drums - Stan Levey.
Session: All selections were recorded in Los Angeles, 1959.
Comments: This album has been reissued by Verve Japan POCJ-2755 on 24 bit CD. The sound is great. Selections from this album were reissued in the 60's by Verve on the albums The Velvet Groove (1966) and The Movin' Man (1966). The following comments are from a review by Adrian Ingram in Just Jazz Guitar, No. 23, May 2000, p. 120 of Good Pickin's and a reissue of a Herb Ellis album.

"Roberts played the standards which were popular with boppers of the time and still comprise the basic repertoire of today's jazzers e.g. "All The Things You Are", "Lover Man", "The More I See You" etc. ... Both reissues represent some of the best jazz guitar on disc and are essential purchases."

The Velvet Groove - Howard Roberts, Guitar with Woodwinds & Strings

1966, Verve (reissue of recordings from 1956, 1957 and 1959).
Selections: Indian Summer (Herbert), An Orchid For Miss Sterling (Friedhoffer), The Innocents (Montrose), Lover Man (Ramirez-Davis-Sherman), Serenata Burlesca (Marshall), Easy Living (Robin-Rainger), My Shining Hour (Arlen-Mercer), Ah Moore (Cohn), Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Van Heusen-Burke).
Personnel: trombone - Bob Enevoldsen, piano - Marty Paich, bass - Red Mitchell, drums - Alvin Stoller.
Session: An Orchid For Miss Sterling, Ah Moore, Indian Summer and Serenata Burlesca were recorded in Los Angeles, October 22, 1956. The Innocents and My Shining Hour were recorded in Los Angeles, November 9, 1956. Polka Dots and Moonbeams was recorded in L.A., January 17, 1957. Easy Living and Lover man were recorded in L.A., 1959.

The Movin' Man Howard Roberts

1966 - VSP - Verve (reissue of recordings from 1957 and 1959)
Selections: The More I See You (Warren-Gordon), Terpsichore (H.Roberts), Godchild (Wallington), All The Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II), Relaxin' At Camarillo (Parker), When The Sun Comes Out (Arlen-Koehler), Between The Devil And The Deep Blue See (Arlen-Koehler), Jillzie (H. Roberts).
Personnel: Bill Holman - Tenor, Pete Jolly - Piano, Red Mitchell - Bass, Stan Levey - Drums.
Session: All selections recorded in Los Angeles, 1959 except Jillzie (see Mr. Roberts Plays Guitar).
Comments: Relaxin' At Camarillo was also issued (I believe) on a Bill Holman record (Verve 2683065). It was also issued, along with All The Things You Are, on Great Guitars of Jazz, MGM SE-4691.

This Is Howard Roberts - Color Him Funky

1963 - Capitol
Selections: Florence Of Arabia (Wilson), What Kind Of Fool Am I? (Bricusse-Newley), Sack O' Woe (Adderly), When Lights Are Low (Carter-Williams), Hoe Down (Nelson), Shiny Stockings (Foster), Good Bye, Good Luck, I'm Gone (Marshall-H. Roberts), One Long Day (H. Roberts-Bryant), The Peeper (Crawford), Days Of Wine And Roses (Mancini-Mercer), Down Under (Hubbard), Colour Him Funky (H. Roberts-Bryant).
Personnel : Paul Bryant - Organ, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, Earl Palmer - Drums
Session: Hollywood, CA, February 12, 13, 1963.
Comments: One of his best and now available again as part of double CD called Dirty 'N' Funky issued by Guitarchives . The other CD is a reissue of H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player.

The Howard Roberts Quartet - H.R. Is a Dirty Guitar Player

1963 - Capitol - reissued on PAUSA in 1984.
Selections: Watermelon Man (Hancock), Smolderin' (H. Roberts), L'il Darlin' (Hefti), Turista (H. Roberts), If Ever I Should Leave You (Lowe-Lerner), One O'Clock Jump (Basie), Deep Fry (H. Roberts), Rough Ridin' (Fitzgerald-Jones-Tennyson), Satin Doll (Ellington), Smokin' (H. Roberts), One Note Samba (Jobimi-Mendoca), Dirty Old Bossa Nova (H. Roberts).
Personnel: Earl Palmer - Drums, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, Burkley Kendrix - Organ.
Session: Hollywood, CA, June 3,4,5 and July 16, 1963.
Comments: Excellent and available again as part of a double CD called Dirty 'N' Funky issued by Guitarchives . The other CD is a reissue of Color Him Funky. Here is a review of Dirty 'N' Funky by Adrian Ingram in Just Jazz Guitar, No. 16 August 1998, p. 62 :

"Despite being locked away in the Hollywood studios for almost 3 decades, Howard Roberts remained a true giant of jazz guitar. His early albums for Verve (Good Pickins and Plays Guitar) showed his heavy debt to Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel. The series of recordings he made for Capitol some 5 years later, however, revealed a fully rounded, complete player with his own , unique, identity. True, the Capitol sessions were, taken collectively, rather more commercially biased with shorter tracks and less improvisation. At the same time , however, Roberts had learned the art of saying more with less, and notched up the intensity of his playing several degrees. Other influences had also crept in, noticeably blues, which now characterized his work.

There were country tinges too, with several nods in the direction of Jimmy Bryant, hear his spirited version of Oliver Nelson's "Hoe Down" for example on disc 2 of this set.

Roberts was equally at ease with single-lines, octaves and block-chording and always mixed these devices with taste and integrity. If his sound, and characteristic tough phrasing, was immediately recognizable, his varied approach was never predictable or formulaic. Wes Montgomery was a fan, once commenting, in a Downbeat "blindfold test", that Roberts has a "nice pattern" and "mixes it up" (June 29, 1967).

Of his Capitol releases H.R. IS A DIRTY GUITAR PLAYER is generally acknowledged as the best, but COLOR HIM FUNKY, recorded just 4 months earlier, is equally impressive. Both sessions feature Chuck Berghofer (bass) and Earl Palmer (drums) but Paul Bryant's organ is replaced by Burkley Kendirix on the latter recording. The similarity of approach and material on both recordings, together with instrumentation, virtually blends both sessions into one and it is appropriate that "Guitarchives" have chosen to couple them for this reissue. The music is wonderful and every cut is a winner. Highlights include "Lil Darlin", "When Light Are Low", "Shiny Stockings" and two Roberts originals: "Deep Fry" and "Smokin". For a box set, however, the sleevenotes are rather terse. Jim Hilmar does a superb job of the Howard Roberts' background information in the booklet, but "Guitarchives" should also have supplied details of sidemen, recording dates and the original LPs. That aside, this is a welcome rerelease which should find its way into every self-respecting jazz guitar enthusiast's collection."

Something's Cookin'- The Howard Roberts Quartet with brass

1964 - Capitol
Selections: Bluesette (Thielmann-Gimbel), Hard Day's Night (Lennon-McCartney), The Lonesome Cowboy (Sheldon-Marshall), Frankie And What's His Name (Marshall-H. Roberts), Blues In The Night (Arlen-Mercer), Cute (Hefti), In A Mellow Tune (Ellington), Charade (Mancini-Mercer), Maniac (Rogers), Recado Bossa Nova (Antonio-Ferreira), Somethin's Cookin' (H. Roberts), People (Styne-Merrill).
Personnel: Charles Kynard - Organ, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, Earl Palmer- Drums, John Audino, Al Porcino, Jack Sheldon, Ray Triscari, Bob Bryant, Shorty Rogers - Trumpets, Bob Enevoldsen, Frank Rosolino, Ken Shroyer, Gilbert Falco - Trombones, Vic Feldman - Percussion.
Session: Hollywood, CA, August 1, 2, 1964.
Comments: Excellent. Bluesette and Frankie and What's His Name were also released on a Capitol promotional album March of 65 produced by Jack Wagner.

"Goodies" - The Howard Roberts Quartet

1965 - Capitol
Selections: Love (Kaempfert-Gabler), Who Can I Turn To? (Bricuse-Newley), Three O' Clock In The Morning (Rabledo-Terriss), Marie (Berlin), Girl Talk (Troup-Hefti), Fly Me to The Moon (Howard), Goodies H. Roberts), More (Ortolani-Oliviero-Newell), I Know A Place (Hatch), Summer Wind (Mayer-Mercer), Chim Chim Cher-ee (Sherman-Sherman).
Personnel: Larry Bunker, Hal Blaine, Frank Capp, Shelly Manne - Drums, Chuck Berghofer, Carole Kaye, Max Bennett, John Gray - Bass, Charles Kynard, Henry Cain - Organ, Donald Peake, Tommy Tedesco, John Pisano - Guitar
Session: Hollywood, CA, June, 1965.
Comments: Excellent. H.R. does an incredible job on Chim Chim Cher-ee. I never knew I liked this song! Summer Wind and Marie were also issued on the Capitol promotional album Great New releases From The Sound Capitol Of The World, November 1965.

Whatever's Fair - The Howard Roberts Quartet

1966 - Capitol
Selections: The Shadow Of Your Smile (Weber-Mandel), Sweet September (McGuffie-Philips), Pussy Cat (Coleman-Schluger), Whatever's Fair (Lentz-H. Roberts), This Is The Life (Strause-Adanis), On A Clear Day (Lane-Lerner), I'll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her (Cahn-Van Heusen), Manha De Carnaval (Bonfa), Michelle (Lennon-McCartney), A Taste Of Honey (Marlow-Scott), Bye Bye Blues (Hamm-Bennett-Lown-Gray).
Personnel: Henry Cain - Organ, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, Bill Pitman - Guitar, Earl Palmer - Drums, Jill Roberts - Percussion.
Session: Hollywood, CA, 1966.
Comments: A personal favourite. Sweet September and I'll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her were also issed on a Capitol promotional album Capitol Pops For May'66.

All-Time Great Instrumental Hits - The Howard Roberts Quartet

1966 - Capitol
Selections: It Was A Very Good Year (Drake), Soft Winds (Goodman), Autumn Leaves (Kosma-Prevert-Mercer), Theme From "A Summer Place" (Steiner), Mr. Lucky (Mancini), Comin' Home (Tucker-Dorough), Danke Schoen (Kaempfert-Scwabach), Work Song (Adderly-Brown), Desafinado (Jobim-Mendonca), The "In" Crowd (Page), Misty (Garner).
Personnel: organ - Henry Cain, bass - Chuck Berghofer, drums - Larry Bunker.
Session: Hollywood, CA, August 13, 1966.
Comments: It Was A Very Good Year, Mr. Lucky and Fly Me To The Moon (from Goodies) appeared on a Capitol compilation album Easy Jazz SL 6652 together with selections by Cannonball Adderly, Sergio Mendes, Jack Marshall, etc. Autumn Leaves, Summer Place and Soft Winds were also released on a Capitol promotional album December of '66 produced by Jack Wagner.

Howard Roberts -- Guilty

1967 - Capitol
Selections: Watch What Happens (Legrand-Gimbel), Ode To Billie Joe (Gentry), Triste (Jobim), Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You (Crewe-Gaudio), Look Of Love (Light-Drake-Davies), Yellow Days (Carrillo), Walk Tall (Zwanuli-Marrow-Rein), You And I (Lyra-de Moraes), O Barquinho (Manescal-Boscoli), Wait Until Dark (Mancini-Evans), Up, Up and Away (Webb).
Personnel: Dave Grusin - Organ, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, Al Hendrickson, Jack Marshall - Guitar, John Guerin - Drums, Paulo Fernando de Magalhaes, Larry Bunker - Drums and Percussion, Claudio Miranda - Drums and Percussion, Vic Feldman - Electric Piano and Percussion.
Session: Hollywood, CA, 1967.
Comments: Up, Up and Away and Ode To Billie Joe also available on The Capitol Disc Jockey Album, November 1967 (produced by Jack Wagner).

Jaunty Jolly - The Howard Roberts Quartet

1967 - Capitol
Selections: I Will Wait For You (Legrand-Gimbel), So Nice (Valle-Valle), Winchester Cathedral (Stephens), Sing No Blues (Grusin), Theme From "The Sand Pebbles" (Bricusse-Goldsmith), A Man And A Woman (Barouh-Lai-Keller), Music To Watch Girls By (Ramin), All (Jessel-Grudeff-Fidenco-Oliviero), If She Walked Into My Life (Herman), The Face I Love (Valle-Gilbert), Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Zawinul).
Personnel: Dave Grusin - Piano, Shelley Manne - Drums, Chuck Bergofer - Bass and Fender Bass, Larry Bunker, Emil Richards - Drums, Bill Pitman - Guitar.
Session: Hollywood, CA, 1967.
Comments: Excellent.

The Howard Roberts Quartet (and some more) - Out of Sight (But In Mind)

1968 - Capitol.
Selections: Love Is Blue (Blackburn-Popp), I Say A Little Prayer (Bacharach-David), Wave (Jobim), Spooky (Sharpe-Middlebrooks-Buie-Cobb), Music To Think By (Boyell), Make Me Rainbows (Bergman-Williams), Fred (Hefti), The Guitars Of Spain (Kusik-Snyder-Guigarro-Alguero), Pretty Butterfly (Albanese-Piereira-Deane), It's About Time (H. Roberts-Berlin), Shifty (Marshall-H. Roberts).
Personnel: none listed.
Session: Hollywood, CA, 1968.
Comments: Wave was also issued on the album Favourites With A Foreign Accent, Capitol SL-6649.

Howard Roberts - The Magic Band Live at Donte's

1995 - V.S.O.P. - CD - recordings from 60's and 70's.
Selections: All Of You (Porter), Shiny Stockings (Foster), All Blues (Davis), Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Burke-Van Heusen), When Sunny Gets Blue (Fisher-Segal).
Personnel: Steve Bohannon - Organ, Tom Scott - Various saxes, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, John Guerin - Drums
Session: Donte's in Los Angeles, July, 1968.
Comments: A live recording and very different from his others - much grittier. It is an excellent jazz guitar recording. The following passage is taken from a review of this album by Adrian Ingram that appeared in Just Jazz Guitar, February 1996, p. 56.

"Given the quasi-commercial nature of Robert's recordings for Capitol (as good as they were) the record buying public never really had the opportunity to hear what a hard swinger he was. And, while Roberts achieved praise and recognition from players as diverse as Clint Strong and Steve Morse for such albums as Dirty Guitar Player (Capitol SM1961) and Color Him Funky (Capitol T1887) these cuts, recorded around the same period (1968) and with a similar personnel reveal an altogether more adventurous and hard-hitting player. None of the CDs 5 cuts are weak and the sound quality is particularly good, given the circumstances of the recording. Highlights include a blistering "When Sunny Gets Blue", great melodic chord work on "Shiny Stockings" and the hard-hitting 'Take No Prisoners' introduction to Cole Porter's "All of You". The CD liner notes are beautifully presented and the 3 previously unpublished photographs of Roberts show him to be the very personification of a jazz guitarist. Indispensable!"

Howard Roberts - The Magic Band II

1998 - V.S.O.P. - CD - recordings from 1968.
Selections: On A Clear Day (Lerner-Lane), One Note Samba (Jobim), Alone Together (Deitz-Schwartz), Angel Eyes (Dennis), Milestones (M. Davis), Giant Steps (J. Coltrane), Dolphin Dance (H. Hancock).
Personnel: Tom Scott - tenor sax, Chuck Berghofer - Bass, John Guerin - Drums, Dave Grusin - piano, Pete Christlieb - tenor sax, John Gross - tenor sax.
Comments: Beautiful! The first time I've heard Giant Steps done as a samba. The recording was done live at Donte's. Here are some more great photos from this CD: photo 1 , photo 2 , photo 3 . The folowing is a review of this album by Adrian Ingram that appeared in Just Jazz Guitar, No. 18, February, 1999., p. 73-74.

"There is not exactly a plethora of Howard Roberts recordings in the current catalogue so any new release must be welcomed, especially when that recording is live.

The 7 tracks on the CD were recorded live at Donte's, a popular LA jazz club, which became a mecca for such players as Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, and of course, Howard Roberts. Like the earlier Howard Roberts Magic Band recording (V.S.O.P. 94CD), the sound quality is excellent, despite the implied low-fidelity disclaimers of the liner notes.

The Magic Band II features the same stellar musicians as its predecessor, with brilliant sympathetic playing by Dave Grusin (keyboards) and Tom Scott (reeds). Bassist, Chuck Berghofer, and drummer John Guerin complete the team.

Recorded during two weekend appearances, the music sparkles from the begining to end. As we have come to expect from Roberts, there are a number of quirky interpretations, which even today surprise the listener and must have had audiences on the edge of their seats when they were first recorded. The tiered acceleration of the ballad "Alone Together" is a typical example; starting out as an unaccompanied chord melody which lopes into a two feel before hurtling headlong into fully fledged uptempo swing. Roberts knew how to build a tune, as is strikingly evident throughout these sessions. Other surprises included the unexpected segue from the evergreen ballad "Angel Eyes" to Miles Davis; modern jazz classic, "Milestones" and the ever changing speeds and feels of "On A Clear Day" and "One Note Samba".

Howard Roberts played with taste, intelligence, passion and wonderful tone. He could handle single lines, octaves and chord meoldies with surprising fluency and his sense of appropriateness was in the same league as Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery.

The Magic Band II demonstrates all of these attributes beautifully, while revealing at the same time his quirky humour and sense of mischief on the bandstand. Unreservedly recommended."

Howard Roberts - Spinning Wheel

1969 - Capitol
Selections: Spinning Wheel (Thomas), Country Scuffle (H. Roberts), Gasoline Alley (Grusin), Bros. Of Serendipity (H. Roberts-Scott), More Today Than Yesterday (Upton), Cantaloupe Island (Hancock), Captain Bacardi (Jobim), Crystal Illusions (Lobo-Hall-Guarnieri).
Personnel: John Guerin - Drums, Tom Scott - Saxophones, Flute, Chuck Domanico - Bass, Dave Grusin - Piano.
Session: Los Angeles, 1969.

Howard Roberts - Antelope Freeway

1971 - Impulse
Selections: Antelope Freeway (H.Roberts-Michel-Szymczyk), That's America Fer Ya (H. Roberts), Dark Ominous Clouds (H. Roberts), De Blooz (H. Roberts), Sixteen Track Fireman (H.Roberts), The Ballad Of Fazzio Needlepoint (H. Roberts-Garofalo), Five Gallons Of Astral Flash Could Keep You Up For Thirteen Weeks (H. Roberts-Szymczyk), Santa Clara River Bottom (H. Roberts), Roadwork (H. Roberts).
Personnel: keyboards - Pete Robinson, Larry Knechtel, Mike Wofford, violon - Bobby Bruce, guitar - Mike Deasy, Howard Roberts, electric bass - Brian Garofalo, Max Bennett, drums - Bob Marin, John Guerin.
Session: Los Angeles, December 17, 1970 and March, 18,23, 1971.
Comments:This album together with Equinox Express Elevator are quite different than the rest of Howard Roberts' work and are similar in nature. On first hearing I recall being quite disappointed in them because I wanted more of the H.R. I was used to. In particular Antelope Freeway contains some comedy sketches that, while funny and interesting, don't really contribute much to the music for me. On the other hand repeated listenings have convinced me that the music on these albums is first-rate and in particular Equinox Express Elevator is a significant musical work. Of course the guitar playing is excellent but Equinox Express Elevator is much more than a guitar album. It is a highly original piece of music. This has been released on CD (Impulse 06025 2780955) together with Equinox Express Elevator in 2011.

Patty Roberts has informed me that the name Antelope Freeway came from a L.A. freeway that was destroyed by an earthquake. This also seems to have something to with the Firesign Theatre's "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All". Patty also told me that Equinox Express Elevator came from the name on an elevator in the Hyatt hotel in San Francisco where they were staying around this time. It has been suggested to me that he chose this name as a somewhat sardonic reference to the "elevator" music he was forced to play at Capitol on some of his records. I don't agree with this characterization as he had a remarkable ability to inject real musicality into some pretty tired pop songs.

Howard Roberts - Equinox Express Elevator

1972 - Impulse
Selections: Unfolding In (H. Roberts-Wofford-Grusin), Timelaps (H.Roberts), TTTT (H. Roberts-Michel), Growing National Concern (H. Roberts), 2dB Eyes Of Blue (H. Roberts), (The Single)(On This Side)(H. Roberts), Real Freak Of Nature Historical Movement (H. Roberts), Slam (H. Roberts), Slam (H. Roberts), Harols J. Ostly, The County Tax Assessor (H. Roberts), Unfolding In (On Itself) (H. Roberts-Wofford-Grusin).
Personnel: electric piano - Mike Wofford, yamaha organ - Dave Grusin, moog synthesizer - Ed Michel, electric bass - Jerry Scheff, drums - John Guerin, percussion - Mayuto Correa, vocal - Dianna Lee, Howard Roberts.
Session: Village Recorder, Los Angeles, January 19, 1972.
Comments: See my comments under Antelope Freeway. This has been released on CD (Impulse 06025 2780955) together with Antelope Freeway in 2011.

Howard Roberts - Sounds

1974 - Capitol
Selections: You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (Wonder), Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree (Levine-Russell Brown), If (Gates), When Sunny Gets Blue (Fisher-Segal), This Maquerade (Russell), Moondance (Van Morrison), We've Only Just Begun (Nichols-Williams), Last Tango In Paris (Barbieri), Where Is The Love (La Joie), Indulge Me (H. Roberts).
Personnel: none listed.
Session: Los Angeles, 1973.

The Real Howard Roberts

1978 - Concord
Selections: Dolphin Dance (Hancock), Darn That Dream (Van Heusen-DeLange), Lady Wants To Know (Franks), Parking Lot Blues (Brown), Gone With The Wind (Wrubel-Magidson), Serenata (Anderson), Angel Eyes (Dennis), All Blues (Davis)
Personnel: Ross Tompkins - Piano, Ray Brown - Bass, Jimmie Smith - Drums.
Session: Los Angeles, August 26, 1977.
Comments: Lady Wants To Know also appears on Swingin' Jazz For Hipsters, Vol. 1, Capitol CCD-4791-2, 1997. Dolphin Dance also appears on The Concord Jazz Guitar Collection. The Real Howard Roberts has my nomination for the best jazz guitar recording ever! This album was recently reviewed by the eminent guitarist Adrian Ingram in an article called The Concord Re-Issues ... appearing in Just Jazz Guitar, No. 10 Feb. 1997, p. 9. Here is the relevant part of that article.

"The sadly undersung Howard Roberts was never well represented on disc, although those he did make were remarkably consistent. Fortunately his one and only outing with CONCORD: THE REAL HOWARD ROBERTS (Concord CCD-4053) is amongst the recent batch of reissues. Good taste, great chops and a wonderful tone were the overt qualities of Roberts' playing, while his improvisation was consistently swinging and considered. Check out his quartet harmony on Herbie Hancock's DOLPHIN DANCE, his chordal work on DARN THAT DREAM and his straight ahead bebop chops on the Wesish reading of GONE WITH THE WIND. We shouldn't forget either his blues forte on PARKING LOT BLUES or the Miles Davis classic All Blues. In short a great recording, providing a breath of fresh air for the jazz guitar. Buy it, buy it, buy it!!!"

Howard Roberts Quartet - Turning to Spring

1980 - Discovery
Selections: Turning To Spring (Collier), Uptown Blues (Dean), No Hurry (Mays), Skylark (Carmichael), Linsong (Mays), Queen Bee (Grusin), Cowboys and Christians (Dean).
Personnel: Bill Mays - Pianos and Fender Rhodes, Thomas Collier - Drums, Dan Dean - Bass.
Session: Los Angeles, November 6, 1979.
Comments: Skylark is an incredible piece of jazz guitar music. This one definitely needs to be reissued. Perhaps Fresh Sounds can arrange that?

Reissues on Euphoria

2000 - Euphoria

These are reissues of his recordings from the 1960's that were originally issued on Capitol. Each CD contains two of these recordings. Further details can be found on the Sundazed Music website. These shots are by Ray Avery and are from the television show The Stars of Jazz that appeared in the late 50's. The original covers are also included together with the liner notes and some new notes written by Jim Carlton. Here is an excellent review of these recordings that apperared in Just Jazz Guitar, No. 28, August 2001 by Adrian Ingram.

"Despite the commercial edge and relatively low stretching out content, the three recent Howard Roberts Capitol reissues from Euphoria are definitely must-haves. Roberts' great tone, masterful facility, and unfailing ability to swing, always make for enjoyable listening. Like Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow, the most overtly recognizable of his influences, Roberts captivates the listener.

His style features, to an even greater extent than his mentors', the element of surprise. Open voicings, close voicings, single lines, double stops, and big band-like question and answer, are devices he juxtaposes in the most unexpected ways, tantalizing the listener with surprises.

Of the six reissues, "Something's Cookin'" replete with large brass section, is perhaps the least successful from a jazz standpoint, as Roberts gets little opportunity to really stretch out. When he does, however, on tunes like "Cute", "Blues In The Night" and "Charade" his playing is nothing short of demonic. Indeed the aforementioned cuts are reminiscent of Wes Montgomery's work with big band on his Verve albums such as "Movin' Wes" and "Bumpin'".

The average length of a track on all of these Capitol sides is no longer than 2+ minutes, yet within the constraints of such time limits, Roberts manages to make meaningful and surprisingly powerful statements. These reissues span the period between 1964 (Comethin's Cookin') and 1967 (Guilty) and, as such, cover a large slice of his recorded work with Capitol. Sadly, Roberts' legendary 1963, "Howard Roberts Is A Dirty Guitar Player" (Capitol SH 1961) and "Color Him Funky" (Capitol ST 1887) have, thus far, been overlooked. Perhaps this is a direct result of their release by Guitarchives in their 1997 box set (Guitarchives 72438 19483 23). We can only hope that Euphoria completes the series with these and the later "Spinning Wheel" (Capitol) album. Until they do, we at least have the present 67 cuts, which include such great tunes as "Watch What Happens", "O Barquinho", "Cute", "Bluesette", "Blues In The Night", "Fly Me To The Moon", "Girl Talk", "The Shadow Of Your Smile", "Autumn Leaves", and "Desafinado".

The six classic recordings on these three CDs, constitute a vital part of jazz guitar history. Overlook them at your loss!"

The Swingin' Groove of Howard Roberts

2018 - Fresh Sound FSRCD 963
Selections: How Do You Do? (Bert Dahlander), Johnson’s Wax (Terry Gibbs), When the Lights Are Low (Carter-Williams), Hip Soup (S.Swenson), But Not for Me (G. & I. Gershwin), Emma (Bert Dahlander), Room 608 (Horace Silver), Ballad Medley, -Everything Happens to Me (Dennis-Adair) -Moonlight in Vermont (Blackburn-Suessdorf) -Flamingo (Grouya-Anderson), All the Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II), Lover Man (Ramirez-Davis-Sherman), Easy Living (Rainger-Robin), Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Arlen-Koehler), The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (Rodgers-Hart), In a Little Spanish Town (Wayne-Lewis-Young), I’ll Take Romance (Hammerstein-Oakland), Zigeuner (Noel Coward), Aunt Orsavella (John T. Will, Caribe (John T. Williams).
Personnel: Howard Roberts - guitar, Victor Feldman - vibes and piano, Pete Jolly, John T. Williams - piano, Curtis Counce, Red Mitchell, Joe Mondragon -bass, Bert Dahlander, Stan Levey, Jack Sperling, Jerry Williams - drums.
Comments: A compilation taken from Skal by Bert Dahlander and his Swedish Jazz, Good Pickin's, The John Towner Touch and Modern Jazz Gallery

Other Recordings