|Birth name||Howard Mancel Roberts|
October 2, 1929|
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
|Died||June 28, 1992
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, rock, country|
|Occupation(s)||Session musician, educator|
|Associated acts||Bobby Troup, Chico Hamilton, The Wrecking Crew|
In 1950, he moved to Los Angeles, California. With the assistance of Jack Marshall, he began working with musicians, arrangers and songwriters including Neal Hefti, Henry Mancini, Bobby Troup, Chico Hamilton, George Van Eps, and Barney Kessel. Around 1956, Bobby Troup signed him to Verve Records as a solo artist. At that time he decided to concentrate on recording, both as a solo artist and 'Wrecking Crew' session musician, a direction he would continue until the early 1970s.
Roberts played rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, and mandolin. He was known for his heavy use of the Gibson L-5 guitar in the studio and for television and movie projects, including lead guitar on the theme from The Twilight Zone as well as acoustic and electric guitar on I Love Lucy, The Munsters, Bonanza, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, Green Acres, Get Smart, Batman, Beverly Hillbillies, Andy Griffith, Peter Gunn, Johnny Quest, Gidget, Mannix, Lost in Space, Dragnet, Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, The Odd Couple, Dick Van Dyke, I Dream of Jeannie, and the theme for the film Bullitt.
Artists Roberts backed include Georgie Auld, Peggy Lee (on "Fever", although there famously is no guitar on the song), Eddie Cochran ("Sittin' in the Balcony"), Jody Reynolds ("Endless Sleep"), Shelley Fabares ("Johnny Angel"), Dean Martin ("Houston"), the Monkees, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins, and the Electric Prunes.
In 1961, Roberts designed a signature guitar which was originally produced by Epiphone. The guitar was a modified Gibson ES-175 (Epiphone is owned by Gibson and during this period Epiphone guitars were manufactured in the same factory as Gibson guitars in Kalamazoo, Michigan), with a round sound hole and a single pickup. A redesigned version was later produced by Gibson. The Howard Roberts signature was borne by two other models made by Gibson: the Howard Roberts Custom and the Howard Roberts Fusion III.
In 1963, Roberts recorded Color Him Funky and H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player, his first two albums after signing with Capitol. Produced by Jack Marshall, they both feature the same quartet with Roberts (guitar), Chuck Berghofer (bass), Earl Palmer (drums) and Paul Bryant alternating with Burkley Kendrix on organ. Both albums were released on a single CD under the title Dirty & Funky on Randy Bachman's label Guitarchives in 1997. In all, he recorded ten albums with Capitol before signing with ABC Records/Impulse! Records.
From the late 1960s, Roberts began to focus on teaching rather than recording. He traveled around the country giving guitar seminars, and wrote several instructional books. For some years he also wrote an acclaimed column called "Jazz Improvisation" for Guitar Player magazine. Roberts developed accelerated learning concepts and techniques, which led to the founding of Playback Music Publishing and the Guitar Institute of Technology. As a co-founder of GIT, now known as the Musicians Institute, Roberts' philosophy remains an integral part of the curriculum.
Howard inspired the opening of Roberts Music Institute in Seattle, Washington, which is currently owned by his son, Jay Roberts.
With David Axelrod
With June Christy
With Buddy Collette
With Chico Hamilton
With Milt Jackson
With Plas Johnson
With Hank Jones
With John Klemmer
With Charles Kynard
With Peggy Lee
With Herbie Mann
With Thelonious Monk
With Shorty Rogers
With Pete Rugolo
With Lalo Schifrin
With Bud Shank
With Gábor Szabó
With Bobby Troup
With Larry Williams
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