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Ted Howe's tribute album, subtitled Revealing the Jazz Soul of Elton John, takes a mellow piano excursion through territory that few jazz artists find the time to consider. Howe's piano trio transforms each pop song into a straight-ahead jazz medium filled with the swing and sway of Elton's gentle emotions. In Howe's hands, pop music swings like Ellington and sways like Basie.
Howe explores each melody with finesse. Partnering with acoustic bass and drums, he settles in comfortably with each lingering melody. The session runs smooth and gentle, with emotions in check and creative fires burning on low heat. Two tracks which add Latin percussion to the formula sizzle with more intensity than the rest. Howe likes to build his phrases and let them diminish in caressing waves that rise and fall with subtle emotion.
John Patitucci's soulful solo lines weave among Howe's swirling piano melodies, creating a pleasant affair. Life is simple. There are no problems to consider. Just enjoy the music without regrets. After all, Elton John's songs do deal with our emotions in a relaxed manner. It's all about reflection and finding answers to our problems.
Track Listing: Philadelphia Freedom; Benny and the Jets; All the Girls Love Alice; Border Song; Blue Eyes; Circle of Life; Carla Etude; Ego; Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word; Your Song.
Personnel: Ted Howe: piano; John Patitucci: bass; Joe La Barbera: drums; Jerry Fields: timbales (3,6);
Luis Gonzalez: congas (3,6).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.