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Greg Howard Band: Lift

Jim Santella By

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Greg Howard's smooth jazz session features saxophone melodies, groove rhythms, and powerful electronic effects. The Chapman Stick, a 10-stringed electric instrument, allows the artist to use both hands, each with a tapping motion. Howard assumes the role of fusion guitarist. Along with Hubert Heeringa's ethereal soprano saxophone lines, he provides a contemporary front line that emphasizes pleasant harmony. Amplified sounds blend across the horizon while bass and drums provide varied textures. Vocal samples add to the fun. From world beat fusion to new age mixtures, Howard's band presents an eclectic program.

"The Offering" wanders off into avant-garde territory. Improvising with creative energy, the artists move toward dramatic tension. Several other pieces contain jazz tinges through their swinging rhythms and limited improvisation. Most of the session drifts through soprano saxophone landscapes which feature repetitive loops and percussive asides. "Blues for Ayman" presents a world view of jazz & blues, with multi-ethnic folkways and the infusion of a common base. It's the album's high point. Heeringa, Wolfkamp and Howard each stretch out with creative solo messages while van Olffen provides the rippled foundation. This one is an album of jazz, funk, experimental, pop and rock. Greg Howard's next one would do well to apply more "Blues for Ayman" across the board.


Track Listing: Dissent; Cross Country; The Offering; Still Water; Chrysalis; The Effect of Marco's First Lekker Bakkie in the Morning; Albatross; Restless; Nord; Blues for Ayman; Experimental Sunrise

Personnel: Greg Howard - Chapman Stick/Synthesizer/Shaker/Rattles; Jan Wolfkamp - Drums/ DDrum/Loops/Timbales/Percussion; Hubert Heeringa - Soprano & Alto Saxophone/ Violin/ Wind-Controlled Synthesizer; Louis Gerrits - Soprano & Tenor Saxophone; Jan van Olffen - Fretless and Fretted Electric Basses

Title: Lift | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Expresso


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