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I have been sampling snippets of instrumentalist rocker Howe for sometime. I wasn’t impressed early on with his shredderiffic rock, even though he’s one of the industry’s hottest acts around. He is incredibly pro with chops, style, execution and pizzazz to covet. I finally bought his Five release a few years back and thought, “Ah yeah, this guy’s getting much, much better.” By better, I mean NO boring look-at-me, flash-riffing but soulful, lyrical, inventive, original, and exciting guitar soundworlds being created.
Now, with the release of Hyperacuity, I hear a wondrously matured, measured yet still aggressively mean-digited guitarist. Thankfully, leaning heavy towards a variant of fusion. That full-fledged fusion flow isn’t quite happening yet like other Tone Center releases featuring Henderson or Gambale but Howe does an admirable job with making his axes sing. This is Howe’s BEST release to date. I find very little to complain about and much to say “Whoa baby!” over. (Well, I must complain over this one non-musical thing. Greg, get a new person to write/type your Press kit/Bio release for Tone Center! It was informative but the spelling and punctuation are atrocious!)
Back to the review . . .
Plenty of wild and fun surprises await the listener on this release. Best of all, Howe is fresh, alive, avoids the traps of staying too long in one groove, and his guitar playing keeps this lick-trodden reviewer’s attention upfront and pleased. Howe utilizes a myriad of guitar voicings and stylings which help create a multi-faceted sonic journey in a mosaic of jazz, rock, fusion, funk, blues and a smidgen of shred. Howe even covers a fav Stevie Wonder tune of mine. “You nasty boy!” Nice and slick grooves, wonderfully re-interpreted. Overall, I strongly recommend this release to guitarists worldwide to study and anyone who digs hearing a dude who know his fretboard inside out. Nice one, Greg!
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.