103

Greg Howard Band: Lift

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
Greg Howard Band: Lift
Smart, moody, original fusion from an American and four Dutchmen. Howard is a virtuoso of the Chapman Stick, a many-stringed instrument played entirely by tapping. Though the Stick has been used to good avail in ensembles like Hawkwind and King Crimson, it’s rather difficult and has therefore never gained much popularity. Howard is one of the small breed of musicians who make it seem effortless. He is joined here by a group of Dutch performers he met while touring the Netherlands a few years back. The music they create is driving and richly syncopated due to the percussive aspects of the Stick in combination with Jan Wolfkamp’s polyrhythms.

Most of the compositions here were written by Howard. As might be expected, the Stick tends to dominate the proceedings, though Howard is sensible enough to lay back when necessary. There are many wonderful textures on the disc, as with the first track where Hubert Heeringa’s alto sax and violin are overdubbed on the exotic melody. Howard and Wolfkamp alternately complement and clash with each other as the moment requires, while Jan van Olffen's bass holds down the foundation.

The 7/4 “Cross Country” is evocative of the Pat Metheny Group, but with a more sophisticated rhythmic base. Reedman Louis Gerrits guests on three tracks, playing tenor on “Cross Country”, soprano on the lush, relaxed “Experimental Sunrise”, and wailing, groaning EWI (wind synth) on the dense and ominous “The Offering”. Heeringa’s soprano sax is especially beautiful when it’s featured. Sometimes it seems that van Olffen doesn’t have enough to do, but Wolfkamp tends to be so occupied with textural duties that it’s most logical for the bassist to sit back and anchor it all.

Lift has much to offer, especially on repeated listenings. Like the best fusion works, this disc should be played when one has the opportunity to sit down and focus on the blissful little subtleties contained therein. Howard and company move beyond chops, far beyond background music, to the kind of creativity that makes them “musician’s musicians”.

(http://www.greghoward.com)

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

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

A Congregation of Folks
Daniele Germani
Push The Limits
Ben Patterson
Old Friends
Mark Winkler
Home at Last
Amit Friedman
Entendre
Nik Bärtsch
soundz offfe drzk wähuh
EUPHORIUM_freakestra
Hemingway
Johnny Gandelsman

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.