Saturday, April 19, 2008


Motif (illustrated) is the overall title encompassing the first volume of a two-album project from eclectic guitarist Steve Howe, best known for his work with Yes, but about to hit the road in June 2008 with his jazz trio - who have 13 dates lined up, happily including Ronnie Scott's in London and The Phoenix in my current home city, Exeter. The line-up for the trio features Steve on guitars, his son Dylan Howe (a highly respected jazz performer in his own right) on drums and Ross Stanley on Hammond Organ.

Cited fretboard influences include Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow and of course Chet Atkins. There's bound to be a bit of Jim Hall thrown into the mix as well.

Regarding the album, Howe says that its primary purpose is to showcase and explore disparate solo pieces otherwise only available on group or other albums. He writes in the liner note: "I recorded the Gretsch guitar tracks in 2005, then the others in 2007, once I'd realized the calling. This was to build up a complete overview of my solo guitar music, afresh in the studio."

He adds: "I've occasionally changed the style of guitar used on previously released tunes, and recorded the first studio versions of others. For these, along with four new pieces plus Trambone, by Chet Atkins, I utilize 9 different guitars: 2 electrics, 3 folk guitars, 2 Spanish guitars, a 12 string and a dobro slide guitar. All are solo performances, no overdubs."

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