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Christian Howes: Out of the Blue (2010)

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Christian Howes: Out of the Blue The violin is widely considered as the most expressive of instruments, closely approximating the human voice. It depends, however, to a large degree, on whose hands the instrument is in. Christian Howes is that rare breed of musician who makes the violin talk; using the idiom of the blues on Out of the Blue, Howes gives a virtuoso performance, as full of emotion as it is technically dazzling. Joined by guitarist Robben Ford
Robben Ford
Robben Ford
b.1951
guitar
, who lends his jazz-inflected accent to these blues, Howes' quintet fairly rips through an eclectic selection of covers which run from gospel and funk to New Orleans, by way of Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
. The energy levels are high, and Howes' stirring displays must surely rank him as one of the very best violinists on the scene.

Perhaps it does Howes a disservice to consider his talent within the confines of the modern era, because his raucous attack, adventurous melodic approach and exuberant swing can't help but evoke the great Stuff Smith
Stuff Smith
Stuff Smith
1909 - 1967
violin
—a major influence on the young Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
. Despite being trained classically, there is almost no trace of this in Howes' playing; his command of swing and the blues is total. Although he takes a long, sinewy, bop-oriented solo on Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
's "Fingerprints," this idiom is not his thing either, and there is instead a passionate, devil- may-care edge to his playing which has something in common with the gypsy/flamenco tradition.

On Fats Domino
Fats Domino
Fats Domino
b.1928
piano
's "I'm Walkin,'" Howes' hot swing recalls the father of jazz violin, Joe Venuti
Joe Venuti
Joe Venuti
1903 - 1978
violin
, and the infectiousness of the music clearly inspires his entire group, as pianist Tamir Hendelman, first, and then Ford, execute passionate solos over a cooking rhythm powered by effervescent drummer Joel Rosenblatt. A more overtly New Orleans voice colors Howes' "Gumbo Klomp" with a second line drum groove, Ford's funky guitar, and Bobby Floyd's bubbling organ.

Floyd has been an important influence on Howes— their partnership dates back to the mid-'90s—and Howes dedicates "Bobby Bad" to the former Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
sideman. His playing, whether on stride-like piano or organ, brings much to the music. Their waltzing duet on the Burwell/Parish standard, "Sweet Lorraine," is a model of give and take, and both play beautifully. Ford, for his part, is sparingly used, adding twangy undercurrents, Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
touches, and water tight unison lines with the violinist. When he does step forward, as on Carla Bley
Carla Bley
Carla Bley
b.1938
piano
's lovely, slow-burning "Sing Me Softly The Blues," he reasserts his credentials as one of the more distinct, and under-sung originals of jazz/blues guitar.

A joyous spirit pervades the music, no more so than on Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
's "Cape Verdean Blues." Celebratory too, the gospel-infused "Seek and Ye Shall Find," the CD's only vocal track, sung soulfully by Sharon Hendrix. The sum of the parts is most pleasing but, nevertheless, Howes emerges as an outstanding talent, playing at dizzying heights which place him alongside Smith, Venuti, Stephane Grappelli
Stephane Grappelli
Stephane Grappelli
1908 - 1997
violin
and the great blues fiddlers like Don "Sugarcane" Harris and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, as one of the very finest violinists of this—or any other—era.


Track Listing: Fingerprints; I'm Walkin'; Cape Verdean Blues; Gumbo Klomp; Out of the Blue; Seek and Ye Shall Find; Bobby's Bad; Sing me Softly The Blues; When Will the Blue Leave; Sweet Lorraine.

Personnel: Christian Howes: electric & acoustic violin; Robben Ford: guitar; Bobby Floyd: piano, organ; Tamir Hendelman: piano; Joel Rosenblatt: drums; Sharon Hendrix: drums.

Record Label: Resonance Records

Style: Beyond Jazz


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Download jazz mp3 “Tango Doblado (Bent Tango)” by Christian Howes Download jazz mp3 “Bobby's Bad” by Christian Howes Download jazz mp3 “The Wind” by Christian Howes

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