Part of a youthful swing movement that gained momentum in the 1980s, Howard Alden plays the earlier pre-bop styles quite effectively but also has the ability to perform the music of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. He is equally talented on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and banjo. Alden began playing guitar at age ten and he counts his early influences as guitarists Barney Kessel, Charlie Christian, and George Van Eps in addition to Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Count Basie. He began gigging professionally in Los Angeles as a teenager and became good friends with trombonist Dan Barrett.
In 1979 Alden played with vibraphonist Red Norvo and, in 1982 followed Barrett to New York where he quickly became established as a major guitarist.
He performed and recorded with the who's who of mainstream jazz including Joe Bushkin, Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Woody Herman, Benny Carter, Flip Phillips, Bud Freeman, Clark Terry, and Dizzy Gillespie, and by the mid-'80s was one of the most popular artists on the Concord label. A very consistent and inventive musician, Alden has since been in great demand for recording sessions and festivals. His numerous recordings are all perfect examples of modern swing.