He's toured around the world, played at Carnegie Hall and alongside the likes of Les Paul. Christian Howes is internationally renowned for his jazz music and will be performing in Columbus.
He's toured around the world, played at Carnegie Hall and alongside the likes of Les Paul. Christian Howes is internationally renowned for his jazz music: In 2013, JazzTimes named him the third-ranked violinist in the magazine's annual critics' poll. A Clintonville native, Howes rose to prominence early. By age 18, he was a full-time member of ProMusica, but a drug conviction in the early '90s derailed his ambitions, resulting in a four-year prison term. The experience led to an epiphany-he switched his focus from classical music–and, ultimately, his redemptive climb to the top of the jazz world. Howes, who splits time between Columbus and Brooklyn, will perform during a jazz brunch at the Via Vecchia Winery on Jan. 12 with Bobby Floyd. citymusiccolumbus.org
How does it feel to be back in Columbus?Every time I would come to Columbus when I lived in New York, I would feel a sense of relief. New York is just inherently–what's the word? Stressful. You have to look over your shoulder more in New York. You're very involved in music education, from your Creative Strings Workshop to visiting schools.Most classical musicians put their instruments on the shelf after high school. I'm trying to empower them to be able to continue doing music in their lives–in the communities, in their churches, wherever. … Some of that actually stems back to my experience of being incarcerated. Because it was then that, as a classically trained violinist, I was interfacing with all these street musicians from different backgrounds. And I saw that music being played on the prison yard was a really humanizing force within this alienating, inherently dehumanized environment. You realize that's what music is. It's this deeply, profoundly human, necessary thing.
What is it about jazz in particular that lends itself to a brunch?It's this idea of spending time with family and reflecting and getting inspiration and sort of rejuvenating for the next week. Also, jazz invites this participatory aspect of the audience and the performers. It's a great option for people for a Sunday afternoon. Good food, good ambience, a good mix of people–really good vibes all the way around.