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christian howes

A Summary Of My Career

May 24, 2010 at 9:20 PM


“If you think you might be ready for a change, you probably are.”

This was advice given to me recently as I was agonizing over several potentially life-changing decisions.

Looking back, I can see that it has rung true more than once throughout my life and career. Maybe it’s not a new idea, but it occurred to me that it could be helpful to others undergoing similar transitions or questions, so I thought it was worthy of inclusion in this blog.

It bears noting that musicians’ lives don’t necessarily fit a “normal” mode, because of the travel, the obsession with our art, and for various other reasons. The artist’s lifestyle isn’t necessarily thought to be conducive to raising a family, making money, getting up early, living a square or “stable” life… I always thought it was exactly what I wanted, and still do in some ways. But there have been 5 or more years during which I have never been in one place for two weeks straight. (As they say, “be careful what you wish for”). The fact is, I got almost everything I dreamed of and then realized that my dream was changing, sort of… (Young people, take note- your goals and values may change. You’ll be aiming for something you know you want, and ten years later when you’ve got there, find that you’re suddenly someone else, with different goals.)

Eight years ago I had built up a life as a jazz musician in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. I was able to make good money playing music on my own terms mostly, without working too hard. I had a good reputation and lot’s of contacts. My daughter, Camille, was four years old.

I had been trying to grow my career by traveling to perform, attend conferences, meet influential industry people, etc… Then it occurred to me that if I brought players in from NYC to play with me in Columbus, I could develop meaningful relationships with them and perhaps impress them enough that they would hire me to play in NYC and around the world.

Some of the players I brought to town included David Murray, D.D. Jackson, Greg Osby, and Billy Hart-all big time artists that I hoped to connect with. Luckily enough, D.D. Jackson recognized something in me that he felt he could utilize, and he brought me to NYC to record, rehearse, and perform. While in New York, I reached out to other people and acquired other possibilities to work, with people like Akua Dixon and Steve Turre.

People I met in NYC advised me to move. They couldn’t understand why I would stay in Columbus. NYC is, after all, the center of the universe for a jazz musician. I thought it would be problematic to leave Columbus as long as my daughter lived there.  How could I leave my daughter? It seemed implausible, unthinkable. Making such a change just wasn’t going to happen, or so it seemed.

For more information about my work and me, you can visit my site at 

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 12:44 AM

Thanks for your advice!  This oftens happens. Sometimes, one is forced to change his goals too even if one doesn't necessarely wants ; ) It is very kind to give advice and share experience with younger ones who obviously pass by such decicions... 


How cool that you really care about your daughter!   Kids know when parents care about them and give it back too! 

From Bonny Buckley
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 2:52 AM

I'm all for parents who actually make the extremely important choice to parent their kids, sometimes at the perceived expense of advancing a career.  It's something intangible, perhaps, yet more rewarding and beautiful than any career move could ever be.  Thank you for sharing this!   And good on ya for your creativity and bringing artists to you!!!  Wonderful!

From Corwin Slack
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 3:33 AM

 Something seems cutoff here. I am anxious to read the rest of the story.

From al ku
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 11:25 AM

haha,,i share corwin's sentiment:)

it is a set-up for an interesting direction but it is probably around the corner...

From elise stanley
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM

me too... we've heard of paradise lost, but what of paradise gained? 

I loved your account and advise - there are definite parallels in my own life and, I suspect, (although to a far less extent) for most people that develop a career.  Our 'modern' life has such specialization that 'the' job is almost invariably in some other city.  Worse, when one career person marries another, something has to give. 

One way it can work out is that by succeeding at the career choice opportunities open up and then you get some freedom to select your location.  That happened to me: after living in places I really hated for 20 years or more I was able to pick a place I love to also do what I love. 


From Royce Faina
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Well, I think I might know.......... back in the 80's when I was hobb-knobbing around clubs playing bass for bands I heard stories like this wonderful story from guys in their 40's & even 50's, not just local talent but actual rock stars (I worked for H&H Music in Houston at the time and met many neat people).

There comes a point in a Musician's life (if he/she has a family) that they realize that their greatest creation and contribution to the world........ is their child/children.  In the end, which did you make Gold/Platinum.. your albums or your children?  And which should you make/have made such?

From Bonny Buckley
Posted on May 26, 2010 at 2:30 AM

Christian - you're in Brooklyn now?   How are the gigs?   How is it with your daughter?

From elise stanley
Posted on May 26, 2010 at 6:53 AM

BTW  -LOVE your picture - she's a treasure...

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 26, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Looks like her Papa- I bet she's a daddy's girl!  What a sweetie!

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