Bio

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Howard was born in 1955 and is a lifelong resident of Buffalo NY where he began piano lessons at age 7. Other than TV jingles, Howard had no childhood exposure to music. However, he wanted piano lessons and tap dancing lessons to emulate his big sister. She and all the cousins and aunts took piano lessons from Mr. Miller. None of them were successful in show business, but Howard stuck with the lessons because he neurotically believed it when he was told, “If you quit piano lessons, you will regret it when you grow up.” He never practiced and had no clue of what music was about and made very little progress. But, he knew he would regret it if later in life if he quit.

An outlier among Howard’s broad range of deficiencies is his uncanny patience regarding long-term projects and that helps explain why he has stuck with piano. Howard was much better suited to a vocation as a mad scientist, which seemed to come more naturally to him.

At age 24 in 1979 Howard hitchhiked on a Lear Jet to Miami and strolled into a nightclub and was introduced to jazz piano by Billy Marcus. Between sets, Billy gave Howard a list of names to listen to: Art Tatum, Bill Evans, et al.

At age 25, Howard enrolled in a music theory class at Niagara County Community College because he wanted to learn of the mechanical mysteries that lie beneath the hood of the printed sheet music so that he could conceivably learn to improvise. Howard enjoyed music theory so much that he stuck around the college and collected an associate’s degree in piano performance.

In 1983 he toured for a year with a top-40 band called London Fog. Howard easily passed the audition by virtue of owning expensive cutting edge keyboards – which he obtained by a gear flipping scheme he concocted. He traveled and roomed with a great rock singer Mark Dixon. Howard was fascinated with Mark Dixon’s talent and constantly picked his brain in an attempt to reverse engineer him. Despite the effort, Howard had no singing voice and was not given any singing role in the band. It was an ’80s band and they all wore spandex pants.

In 1984 the band broke up and Howard devoted himself to building a mail-order music gear business called Howard Goldman Musician’s Supply, Inc., and Goldman’s Gear Exchange. It had a 10-year run and employed a dozen people before crashing and burning. Ironically, during the 10-year music equipment career he went cold-turkey from practicing.

In 1996, after a 12-year gap, Howard decided to attack learning piano again. He enrolled at Duke University so he could use the practice rooms and took two semesters of Jazz Improvisation from Duke University’s Chip Ojiisan Crawford. Chip introduced Howard to several clubs in Raleigh/Durham. Chip has no recollection of his unremarkable student.

In 1997, hoping to finally gain the ability to improvise, Howard created and codified his own unique method for learning to improvise which he titled The Baby Talk System. To this date, Howard Goldman has taught a number of students (one) (himself), his ingenious and inventive teaching breakthrough.

In 1998 Howard’s brother-in-law Chuck Mancuso, professor of popular music history at Buffalo State College, suggested Howard hear Al Tinney at Fanny’s Supper Club. It was there that Howard met his wife, Mary. Mary Kunz was a newspaper reporter and music critic. Mary and Howard began holding weekly Monday night jam sessions at her home. Howard was fortunate to become close to and influenced by many talented jazz and cabaret performers jamming in the living room. Everyone took turns playing and singing. Howard was the holdout as far as the singing goes. He did not sing.

2004 Howard married the Buffalo News Music Critic.

In 2006 Howard bought a historic building in the heart downtown Buffalo near the theatre district and two doors from the historic Statler Hotel.

In 2010 Howard voluntarily stepped in and sold the threatened historic Statler Hotel building in downtown Buffalo. Howard successfully launched a national search for a new owner and in lieu of payment for his services he asked only that he be considered for the hotel lobby pianist. In March 2011 he played lobby piano during the official deed signing of the Statler. It was written up in a Donn Esmonde Buffalo News column.

In 2011 local piano entertainer legend Jackie Jocko began mentoring Howard to help him prepare for the opening of the Statler. Jocko’s tutelage of Howard went on weekly for 3 years at Howard’s historic building. It became known as LoungeACADEMY. Jocko surprisingly took interest in Howard and helped him learn to add singing to his piano playing. Howard was to continue performing at the Statler weekly for 11 years until the Statler closed for remodeling on 1/1/2022.

In 2012 Howard began hosting weekly piano bar events at LoungeACADEMY directly after his cocktail piano set next door at the Statler. Each evening was videotaped. Eventually it became a weekly live stream called WBIG.Tv’s LoungeACADEMY. Howard began 4 years of vocal Bel Canto training with “Vocal Trainer to the Stars”, Andy Anselmo.

In 2013/2014 Jackie Jocko took 6 weeks off and Howard Goldman filled in the regular four nights a week. In 20 years at the Hyatt, Jocko had never used an understudy.

2021 When the Statler reopened in the spring from the long Covid shutdown, Howard resumed his Friday nights but this time with vocals as a piano bar format rather than as lobby piano.

1/1/2022 Statler closes for multi-year 150 million dollar remodel.

February 2022 The owner of the Statler wanted to “keep the LoungeACADEMY institution alive” and moved Howard Goldman’s LoungeACADEMY to his neighboring and recently acquired Buffalo Regency Hotel.