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Spotlights [Issue # 6 ]
Greg Howe:

By Dean Truitt

Guitar prodigy Greg Howe has spent the last 15 years churning out one remarkable album after another at a mesmerizing pace while gradually evolving in style and growing as a composer. His career launched auspiciously with a straightforward display of virtuoso shredding, but has since gone into a more melodic, fusion-based direction. His latest offering, Extraction, unites him with bass deity Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) and drum legend Dennis Chambers (Parliament, Funkadelic, Santana). Carrying on the tradition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this album covers an enormous range of sonic territory with seemingly effortless power.

Howe notes that the writing and recording process was an absolute thrill because he had the luxury of working with players of unrivaled skill, taste, and experience. Commenting on the infinite talents of Wooten and Chambers, Howe explains, "Everything they do is great. So, it's like walking through a parking lot of Lamborghinis . . It's just a matter of deciding which vibe you want." As a result of playing with such masters, the Shrapnel recording veteran realized he could literally write and perform any style with ease, which makes the spectrum of moods on Extraction remarkably diverse.

The thread that distinctly holds the package together is inspired composition, which highlights the trio's explosive interactive chemistry. Howe intentionally called upon his collaborators' versatility when considering song selections for the album. On the stellar track "Contigo," Howe recalls, "Dennis really unleashes on the kit against that son montuno figure on piano . . . anytime you can turn Dennis loose like that, it's pretty amazing." For the explosive "Bird's Eye View," the visionary guitarist admits, "I wanted it to be kind of a showcase for Victor more than anything . . . he has such a special rhythmic connection with Dennis."

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the album is the level of disciplined restraint for the benefit of the song. On the breathtaking title track, Howe observes, "There's a lot of intensity that builds up during this song, but then there's this kind of beautiful, peaceful sigh of relief at the end . . . I really just wanted to keep this peaceful thing going as the song goes out. It was a much less expected way to go." In taking the road less traveled, Greg Howe appears to be on the rare path of musical longevity. "

Tone Center

Greg Howe Extraction

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