CD Heartfelt [Christian Howes] (CD 1340770),
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Heartfelt [Christian Howes]

  • 1. Wind, The
    2. Cinema Paradiso
    3. Alone Together
    4. That's All It Was
    5. Invasion of the Forest
    6. Walkin' Up
    7. Peacocks, The
    8. Opus Half
    9. Early Autumn
    10. Bernie's Tune
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1006

  • Credits
    ProducerGeorge Klabin; George Klabin
    EngineerPierre Paul; George Klabin; Pierre Paul; George Klabin

    Personnel: Christian Howes (violin, viola, strings); Andreas berg (guitar); Octave Geiger (viola); Pierre Paul, George Klabin (recorder); Roger Kellaway (piano); Bob Magnusson (bass instrument); Nathan Wood (drums, drum).
    Audio Mixers: Pierre Paul; George Klabin.
    Liner Note Author: Lee Hildebrand.
    Arrangers: Kuno Schmid; Roger Kellaway.
    Amplified violinist Christian Howes has been knocking on the door of superstardom since his much publicized legal and personal troubles, which are by now well behind him. While he should be recognized for his immense talent, his recordings as a leader have been spotty in terms of repertoire. Heartfelt is certainly different for Howes, as he joins forces with pianist Roger Kellaway in an at times romantically oriented effort that displays a split between small-ensemble tracks and tracks with a string complement. Happily, it is not all stringy, as the combo tunes have more of an energized, mainstream jazz feel. Howes works well as a lead voice, and while the strings are tastefully done, they are a bit syrupy and tend to suffocate the talents of the principals. Bassist Bob Magnusson, one of the all-time secret weapons of jazz, ultimately enhances this session. He jumps right into the fray on the Bill Evans obscurity "Walkin' Up," the most effectively interactive piece with brief violin and drums or bass workouts inserted. Stroking the rhythm of "Bernie's Tune," the bassist fires up Howes on this well-worn but welcome standard. A brisk waltz, Kellaway's original "Invasion of the Forest" sports counterintuitive rhythms in a framework. As much as "Alone Together" has been played to death, the quartet invigorates it with an inventive, extrapolated melody. Possibly the most delightful track is a violin/piano duet of the Benny Goodman late-'30s chestnut "Opus Half," with a bouncy stride piano riff from Kellaway that in an unexpected way updates this old-school tune. The cuts with strings are nice enough: "The Wind" combines symphonic sounds with light Brazilian beats; "That's All It Was" is a cavalier, soft, warm, and painfully brief fling written by Eliane Elias; while "Cinema Paradiso," "The Peacocks," and "Early Autumn" are fairly typical ballads. Howes and Octave Geiger (a contractual pseudonym?) overdub harmonically during "Early Autumn" for an interesting and alluring effect. For many listeners, this will be a hit-and-miss effort, elevated by the sheer talent of the oftentimes amazing Howes, but yielding mixed results because of the on-and-off inconsistency from track to track. It's good, sometimes excellent, but not essential or ultimate. ~ Michael G. Nastos

  • Critic Reviews
    JazzTimes (p.87) - "He dazzles on a well-executed rendition of Bill Evans' 'Walkin' Up,' and duets playfully with Kellaway on Benny Goodman's 'Opus Half.'"
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