Bernard “Womack” Howard was a respected pianist in Jacksonville’s jazz community. He was trained as a child by his parents and went on to become an accomplished player. He performed with such notables as Teddy Washington, Longineu Parsons, Rev. Eugene White, Lisa Kelly, Gary Starling and other talented musicians during the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. After retiring from the U.S. government, where he was the first black air traffic controller in the southern region, he performed at many local venues such as the Ritz Carlton, Giovanni’s, the Hideaway Club, the Chart House and many more.
Howard supported the Jacksonville Jazz Festival as a judge for the piano competition for many years and was a lifetime member of the Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum until he passes away in June 2011. His passion for jazz and support of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival was immeasurable. For his talent and dedication to the festival throughout the years, Bernard “Womack” Howard has been inducted into the 2012 Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame.