Since the late '80s, guitarist Greg Howe has spiraled his way towards the créme de la créme of the progressive-rock/jazz-fusion elite. With his first album since Extraction
(Tone Center, 2003), the guitarist spawns more of his melodically shaded, super-speed legato lines while honing in a tad more on the compositional element. This album also features a new band that is afforded ample breathing room to stretch. It's a democratic engagement but firmly rooted in an altogether unified line of attack.
Howe zooms into the cosmos during many passages, yet the program is largely, imprinted with briskly enacted time signatures and off-kilter rhythmic maneuvers as the artists embark upon a sinuous journey amid persuasive group-based interplay. On Stevie Wonder's "Tell Me Something Good," Howe's weeping funk-rock lines consummate matters via breakneck speed-riffing.
The band delves into Latin, fuzoid panoramas while tempering the flow on Howe's jazzy, acoustic guitar-driven ballad, "Sunset In El Paso," while letting it all hang out atop drummer Gianluca Palmierie's ferocious backbeats on "Child's Play," as Howe's climactic and multi-register phrasings makes it all seem like child's play. In other areas and movements, keyboardist David Cook stands as a strong foil for Howe via his dirty Fender Rhodes solos and fluid chord voicings.
Sound Proof is Howe's finest musical statement to date.
Personnel: Greg Howe: guitar; Jon Reshard: bass; Gianluca Palmieri: drums; David Cook: bass.