Kiss My Brass

In introduction to Jack Howard and his musical background leading up to the launch of Epic Brass.

Author: Jeff Jenkins, The Music (Melbourne).

Date: 29 June 2016.

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Jack Howard is not one to blow his own trumpet – unless he’s on stage. Jack is always up for a gig. And many of the singers he’s performed with over the years are part of a special show he’s doing at Memo Music Hall on 9 Jul called Epic Brass! Jack and his five-piece horn section will be performing the horn hits of Hunters & Collectors, Midnight Oil, The Saints and many other Aussie acts, joined by a stellar line-up of singers, including Sean Kelly, Ron Peno, Steve Lucas, Fiona Lee Maynard, Paulie Stewart and Penny Ikinger.

Jack, a member of Hunters and Collectors’ Horns Of Contempt, explains: “I had the light-bulb moment late last year. I’ve been involved with so many great bands as a trumpeter and brass arranger but it took a while to realise I could put a good show together out of all that experience.” Will we get to hear Jack’s big band arrangement of Holy Grail? “Hmmm,” he muses. “I’m trying to avoid the obvious. It might turn up sometime. The more exciting thing about this show for me has been discovering some great obscurities.” What’s your all-time favourite horn song? “Probably The Saints’ Swing For The Crime.”

Jack grew up in a musical family. “Mum and dad were closet musos. Dad was a beautiful, Bing Crosby-like singer and mum played the piano and recorder. Both my sisters played piano, and my half-uncle, Leslie Howard, is a world-famous concert pianist.” Jack got his start in the Brunswick Municipal Band, playing the flugelhorn alongside his dad. “This was nothing hip about Brunswick in 1970,” he smiles. But Jack never looked back.

Has he ever met a brass instrument he can’t play? “Yes,” he laughs. “I can’t be trusted on tubas or trombones.” Jack plays a Back Stradivarius 43. “Have done for 30 years,” he says. “Trumpets don’t last forever, but, unlike a footy team, they’ll never let you down.”