"Jimi Hendrix of the violin," my ass! It is sad that we are saddled with such tired metaphors. Christian Howes is considerable more talented than such a moniker would suggest. Lee Brown referred to Howes as a "Jazz Paganini." Now that is more like it. Classically trained since the age of five and performing Mendelssohn’s D Minor Violin Concerto at sixteen, Howes more than earned his stripes in the woodshed. As a jazz violinist today, he has no peer. Another really nice thing about his talent is that it falls damn little under the shadow of Stephane Grappelli. That makes him a breath of fresh air.
Jazz on Sale is Christian Howes’s debut recording for the Khaeon label. He chooses an acoustic trio format for this recital and an interesting choice of material for performance. Howes opens and closes his meditation with Monk’s "Blue Monk," skillfully deconstructed by himself and Argentinean pianist Federico Lechner. Both men are disposed to the Bill Evans School of harmonic thinking and together they produce densely impressionistic music. No where better can this be heard than on the Evans/Davis composition "Blue in Green." The lengthiest piece on the release, "Blue in Green" provides a large canvas for the violinist, pianist, and bassist Pablo Martin to each express their impressionistic ideas. "Blue in Green" is stunning as the disc centerpiece. The trio does likewise with Thad Jones’s "A Child is Born."
Mr. Howes contributes two compositions of his own. "When She is Like Water" is a folksy, thoughtful piece, smacking of Americana. The title cut is Monkish is rhythm and dissonance, creative and jaunty. Howes and Lechner are of a like mind on the piece. Jazz for Sale is a very entertaining offering from the violin wunderkind Howes. Highly recommended.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.