Howard Roberts Day

October 2, 1929 – June 28, 1992


A birthday tribute to the jazz and studio guitarist

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Guitarist Howard Roberts was born October 2, 1929 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Roberts began playing guitar when he was eight and as a teenager he worked in Phoenix.

He moved to Los Angeles when he was 20, gigged locally, and by 1956 was working with pianist-singer Bobby Troup and recording as a leader for Verve.

For the next 15 years, Roberts was greatly in demand for studio work, playing on a countless number of television and movie soundtracks and accompanying top names.

Even during those busy years, Howard Roberts still played jazz regularly in Los Angeles area clubs and recorded with such notables as Frank Morgan, Pete Jolly, Joe Morello, June Christy, Chico Hamilton, Julie London, Pete Rugolo, Peggy Lee, Gerry Mulligan and Hank Jones in addition to leading popular sessions of his own for the Capitol label.

Starting in the mid-1960s, he slowed down on his studio work and instead became an educator, co-founding the Guitar Institute of Technology (now known as the Musicians Institute), writing guitar instructional books, and having a monthly column for Guitar Player.

Largely semi-retired after the mid-1980s, Howard Roberts passed away in 1992 at the age of 62.

This clip features Howard Roberts playing “Star Eyes” with a quartet also including keyboardist Carl Schroeder, bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Joe Porcaro.

-Scott Yanow


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