by Dan McClenaghan
Pianist Ted Howe offered up one of the finest of Duke Ellington tributes, the piano trio set titled simply Ellington (Summit Records, 2005). It was a heartfelt ride through some of The Duke's most familiar tunes, swinging mightily. He now steps up into Ellington-ian ensemble territory with Pinnacle, by his thirteen piece Ted Howe Jazz Orchestra. In the old is it classical, is it jazz?" discussion, Pinnacle definitely leans classical--but it does swing. Opening with Presto for Two ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Big bands come at the listener from a variety of angles these days, some more aslant than others. On Pinnnacle, Los Angeles-based composer / arranger / pianist Ted Howe covers all the bases, navigating his thirteen-piece orchestra through styles ranging from swing to funk, Latin to tone poem, often with classical undertones. Howe gives credit for his eclectic approach to the late Herb Pomeroy, with whom he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and afterward by late-night ...read more
by Jim Santella
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 ...read more
by Glenn Astarita
The purpose of this recording was for pianist Ted Howe's (Duke) Ellington Show to be choreographed for an Atlanta, Georgia-based dance troupe. Thankfully, Howe and his trio recorded a portion of the Duke's songbook for mass consumption, while exuding a cheery and indubitably upbeat vibe along the way. Fused with snappy rhythms, Latin slants, and brisk swing vamps, the trio succeeds at instilling a personalized approach into familiar territory.
Howe simply glides across his acoustic piano's keys, featuring ...read more
by Dan McClenaghan
Pianist Ted Howe missed the centennial of Duke Ellington's birth by six years with this release. In late '98 and '99 there were more tributes to the Duke spinning around out there than you could count. I don't recall anybody honoring Ellington via the piano trio route, though, and Duke himself rarely recorded in the format--Money Jungle (Blue Note, 1962), with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach, stands out as an exception.On Ellington, the pianist and his ...read more