Whether you were fortunate enough or not to have caught Howard Alden and Ken Peplowski's 2007 reunion art New York's Bargemusic, Pow-Wow will do very nicely to dig these longtime musical good companions. Much of the Barge evening drew upon Pow-Wow, offering a perfect, quietly spectacular skyline setting for these two, both who eschew pyrotechnics. Their playing is exciting enough in its simplicity. Hearing their variety, range and richness can make it seem like listening to more than just two players. The title track (guitarist Joe Puma's tune, based on the changes of Ray Noble's Cherokee ) ...read more
Duets is a notable release that pushes an often overly modest bassist into the solo limelight, and also features a widely admired guitarist in one of his better performances. Joe Byrd has always been known for his mastery of the supportive aspects of playing the bass, especially his precise sense of time, and his solid bluesy sound, but rarely has his solo work been so prominently featured. Not surprisingly, he carries over his jazz savvy as an accompanist into his solo work. A careful listen to his solo on the CD's opening track, Satin Doll, or on I Thought About ...read more
Good taste never goes out of style and knows no demographic, as this delicate album by two masters of the seven-string demonstrates. The 45-year old Alden and the 77-year old Pizzarelli may be a generation apart, but they are certainly cut from the same cloth.
A great example of how their comping and strumming styles mesh so effortlessly is heard on Tangerine," where they trade back and forth like one guitarist overdubbed on two tracks. Cherokee" starts with a tom-tom-inspired beat and turns into a mutual admiration society meeting with the two swapping solos back and forth with abandon.
They ...read more
There is a small, select group of contemporary jazz musicians who when they release a new album, the question is not whether it's going to be good but rather, how good". Guitarist Howard Alden falls four square into this community of consummate jazz artists and his position in the group is further solidified by his latest from Concord Jazz, My Shining Hour. Playing the both the electric and acoustic 7 string archtop guitar, Alden gets a fullness, a richness of sound and timbre, without being smeary, that is rarely matched among his fellow axe players. He can do his own ...read more
Terrie Alden's super follow up to Voice With Heart .
Warren Vaché and Bill Charlap produced a beautifully intimate duet recording in 2Gether (Nagel Heyer). At the time, I thought this collaboration would be hard to top, but topped it was and on the same record label to boot. Terrie Richards Alden and her guitarist husband Howard Alden have released Love, a song cycle to romance, surveying the American Canon of love songs in a closely personal way.
The Aldens mix their respective talents into a cleverly assembled collection of love songs, providing a pleasing, stripped-down look at the art ...read more
Concord Records lent guitarist Howard Alden to Nagel Heyer to allow him to record with his vocalist wife, Terrie Richards Alden. The result assures that this loan will not end up as a bad debt entry in the books of either label. It is not easy to sing with just guitar backing, even if it is your husband's. Straying from the pitch, for example, is much more obvious than if there were a piano and rhythm section present. But the Terri Alden pulls it off with ease and elan as she goes through a play list of well-known standards. The ...read more
I really do appreciate the easygoing sound of a well–played guitar — even though I couldn’t separate one guitarist from another if they walked up to me, shook hands and introduced themselves. On this new two–disc set from Concord we have not one but four well–played guitars in the capable hands of a quartet of recognized masters — Howard Alden and Jimmy Bruno (Full Circle, recorded in 1995) and Herb Ellis and Joe Pass (Jazz/Concord, from 1972). Full Circle refers to the fact that it was the last album produced by the late Carl Jefferson, who headed Concord Records for ...read more