When the eminent brass player, teacher, and historian Howard Miyata and his wife Susan (she plays the French horn among other instruments) came to visit us this afternoon in Sonoma, California, I didn’t expect that there would be an impromptu concert-demonstration . . .but I am so delighted to be proven wrong!
For those of you who don’t know Howard, he is famous for playing with many bands — beginning with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and continuing up through the Zinfandel Stompers, the New Eldorado Stompers, Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band, and the High Sierra Jazz Band — which is where I first met him. Howard studied at San Jose State University and directed bands for the Gilroy Unified School District. He also directs the Pacific Brass Band — one of only three authentic British style brass bands in California. You might have encountered him on a JazzDagen cruise or at a jazz party; brass players will know him through his work as a tuba / trombone / euphonium artist and clinician for Kanstul (http://www.kanstul.com). He is also a superb singer – vaudevillian (I’ve posted his performance of THE YAMA YAMA MAN here
and, more recently, A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON here.)
And before I had ever heard Mr. Miyata play, I had known of him as “Uncle How,” the man behind Gordon, Brandon, and Justin Au — and no doubt hundreds of grateful younger players. (He is a superb teacher — but more about that in another post sometime.) Most recently, I’ve posted videos of the Au Brothers Jazz Band with Uncle How, Katie Cavera, and Danny Coots in the rhythm section.
Howard had two horns in his car — a huge tuba and his Conn double-bell euphonium. And when I said I had only heard of the latter horn in the lyrics to SEVENTY-SIX TROMBONES, he was more than happy to bring it in to show off how it sounded. About ten seconds into his cheerful presentation, I asked him to hold everything, and I brought my video camera — thinking that this was too good not to share:
Even without a double-bell euphonium, Howard Miyata makes music wherever he goes. We are very lucky to have him!