Our world of music is a bit emptier with the loss of Howard Morgen. Guitarist, educator, arranger, composer – Howard Morgen touched many of our lives as much with his human warmth as with his incredible musical intelligence.
While we grieve the loss of our friend (after a long, heroic battle with leukemia), let us celebrate the life of this extraordinary musician and the legacy he has left to all of us in the world of music.
Many of us first came under Howard’s spell from his columns that graced so many magazines, including Guitar Player, Guitar World, Acoustic Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, and Just Jazz Guitar. He had a great knack for making the most complex concepts crystal clear while infusing us with the confidence that we really could play fingerstyle, or jazz, or even better – his unique combination of both.
His books of arrangements of Gershwin, Ellington, Paul Simon, and various others formed the backbone of repertoire for guitarists from hobbyists to pros, and many of us spent hours listening to his Gershwin CD and trying to get that magic touch that made his recordings so personal.
It was our good fortune that Howard Morgen, a brilliant performing artist, chose to devote so much of his time to teaching. Howard shared his expertise at a time that relatively few players of his stature did. He authored books that detailed his concepts of arranging for solo guitar, playing solo arrangements, to help bring our own playing to life.
His inimitable style – like an old friend who is happy to pass on their musical discoveries – as well as his vast knowledge drew untold numbers of students from magazine readers to attendees at his master classes to his college classes in New York City to his private students (who included such luminaries as Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, Carly Simon, and Christine Lavin).
No matter where we learned them, we will all carry his lessons in our hands, hearts and music forever. Howard, we love you and will miss you dearly.
– Brad Wendkos; on behalf of all of Howard’s friends, students and fellow educators at TrueFire