Howard took up clarinet at the age of 7, followed shortly by the alto sax, then flute and piano. At the age of 17 he was asked to join the newly formed NYJO2, then run by Paul Eshelby, trumpet player with the BBC Big Band and in 1990, aged19, he started playing lead alto with NYJO, where he remained for 6 years.
At 21 he won the BBC Don Lusher prize for best up and coming jazz musician in Britain.
He went to Jesus College Cambridge to read Engineering but, even though he graduated with honours, he decided to pursue a career in music. He studied jazz and studio music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, with lessons in harmony and composition from Peter Churchill and Scott Stromann.
He also worked in the summer months from 1991-94 in a residency in Monte Carlo where he played with Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer, Shirley Bassey and Julia Migines.
After leaving NYJO he formed the Rhythmic Jazz Orchestra, along the lines of the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra of New York, playing works by Thad Jones, Maria Schneider, Stan Sultzman and Steve Gray.
Howard joined the BBC Big Band in 1999, where he played with Clark Terry, Ray Charles, Bobby Watson, Bud Shank, Pete Christlieb, Georgie Fame and Michel Legrand. He also worked in the pop scene, touring extensively with Vanessa Mae, playing opposite Michael Jackson and performing with the Spice Girls and Ben Folds 5.
Howard opened Station House Studios in 1998 and was signed to Artemis music as a media composer. He’s produced the Go Solo improvisation series, the Associated Board Jazz Works, Take the Lead and the Jazztastic series, all published by IMP.