08/05/1954 – 06/27/2023
A highly respected Los Angeles trumpeter, composer, and arranger, Howie was a Van Laar Trumpets artist and endorsed Bob Reeves mouthpieces. He received a Bachelor of Music Education from Fredonia State University in 1975, a Master of Music with a major in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music in 1977, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California in 2002. He studied trumpet with James F. Burke, Raymond Crisara, and Carmine Caruso. Howie toured with the Woody Herman Band as lead trumpet player and featured soloist in 1980. After the tour, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician and soloist for the remainder of his career. The extensive list of artists he worked with includes: The Chuck Mangione Orchestra, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Mel Torme, The Temptations, and The Spinners. He was musical arranger and lead trumpet player on the Joan Rivers Late Night Show. Howie also played many shows at the Ahmanson Theatre and at jazz festivals throughout the world. In addition to his work as an arranger and producer of jazz recordings, Howie led his own small ensemble jazz groups. His recording, Bopliography, is considered to be the best recorded example of his jazz skills. His classical playing included brass quintets and choirs, solo church work, and solo work in the studios. As an educator, Howie maintained an active private studio, was an instructor of Jazz Trumpet with California State University at Northridge, and with the Los Angeles College of Music. He was a prolific clinician, performing and presenting at many schools, conferences, and festivals. Through his publications, Howie continues to serve students of jazz worldwide.
Perhaps most notable is that he accomplished all of this while battling Tourette Syndrome. Gifts in memory of Howie can be made to Tourette Association of America (https://tourette.org/).
This is not a typical musician web bio. Michael currently makes his living in technology. He attended Berklee College of Music, studying privately and reading voraciously. After spending nine months with a road show, he moved to Los Angeles in 1983 where he immediately realized that he would be unable to compete with the likes of Howie Shear anytime soon. Fortunately, by then composition and arranging had already become his main pursuit. However, he found he was much better at doing the jobs than he was at getting hired to do the jobs…a totally different thing. For approximately four years, he ran an independent record label which did not survive. At that time, around the age of 35, he left the music business in pursuit of a steady income (family and house payment). Now that the kids are grown he is becoming more active in music. In particular, working to expand the awareness, appreciation, and performance of JAZZ in the 21st century!
Michael has a BA in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State College and holds many technology certifications. He is a member of The Recording Academy (Producers and Engineers Wing), the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers, the National Association of Composers/USA, the International Trumpet Guild, and Mensa.