Graham Howell – Saxophone

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Graham has played with Riley and the Ryze Band since 2010 and continues to dig all things Motown—but that’s not all.

After finishing formal music training at UBC’s School of Music, Graham went on to play in a variety of musical groups. A brief stint in several military bands (Band of the Ceremonial Guard, Ottawa; Canadian Forces School of Music, Esquimalt; 15th Field Artillery Band, Vancouver) was followed by five years of crisscrossing Canada in a 1975 Dodge van playing English ska music in Skaboom! Life on the road continued, in more comfortable circumstances, with such bands as Ralph the Beatnik Poet; Canada’s metal queen, Lee Aaron; and The Powder Blues Band.

Graham’s interest in private teaching keeps him busy with students studying flute, clarinet, saxophone, music theory and harmony. He teaches from his home studio, at the Arbutus Club, and at Tapestry Music on West Broadway. He likes to put his woodwind doubling to the test by playing in pit orchestras, too. Recent examples include Victor/Victoria (Metro theatre), Into the Woods (Fighting Chance Productions), Boys from Syracuse (Applause!), and City of Angels (The PIT Collective). As well, Graham enjoys playing for the jive dancers and Lindy hoppers who come out for Alexander Browne’s “The Aristocrats of Swing” jazz orchestra. An avid fan of David Bowie, Graham works with Syl Thompson in his multi-media tribute act “A Night of Bowie”, and has performed with this band in many venues, including Nanaimo’s Port Theatre, the Surrey Arts Centre, and for the Sun Peaks Retro Music Festival.

Time in the recording studio has been focused on special projects of late, namely those of solo artists LJ Mounteney (jazz, blues, and soul vocalist) and Dino DiNicolo (the Ryze’svery own vocalist and bassist!).

Graham shares his passion for classical music with his wife, mezzosoprano soloist, Melissa Howell. Together, they have performed in local productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (The Opera Project), Mozart’s Requiem (Dunbar Ryerson United Church), The Singing Bank—a Downtown Eastside opera outreach program (Opera Bravissima), and An Evening of Cabaret (Postmodern Camerata).

Graham is pleased to bring all these influences and experiences to meld with the fabric of sound that is Riley and the Ryze Band.