HOWARD WILEY is a protégé of the dynamic Miss Faye Carol and Bay Area great Jules Broussard, and is associated with the Thelonious Monk Institute and GRAMMY All-American Jazz Band. After he visited the notorious Angola Prison in Louisiana in 2005, the “Angola Project” was born—a re-interpretation of prison spirituals, traditional spiritual music, New Orleans-style blues, gospel music, and jazz. Wiley has released a trio of masterful solo recordings, performed SFJAZZ Hotplate tributes to Ornette Coleman and Coleman Hawkins, and featured in the de Young Museum’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983.
“I started writing some songs,” he says. “All these dudes are not playing songs. They’re playing vamps, endless vamps. That’s what you all want? They’re ruining my date night. So I’m doing my first ‘me’ project where I’m playing all the instruments and doing all the singing. I just went in the studio and cut some demos and sent them to L.A. I’m getting my Stevie Wonder and black Billy Joel on.”