Steve Howe Trio – Travelling (2010)

Share this:

Howe’s long and distinguished résumé as a guitarist for Yes, Asia, GTR and several frethead albums under his own name has been more than enough to put him in the elite category among rock guitar players. Even after all that, Travelling needs to be highlighted because it captures Howe in an entirely different environment: organ-based soul jazz. The Steve Howe Trio was formed in 2008 and already has produced an album prior to this one, The Haunted Melody. With each of this live set with son Dylan Howe on drums and Ross Stanley on B-3, the connection between these seemingly incompatible worlds of Back At The Chicken Shack and Fragile become more apparent. Among his early influences in classical and country, Howe was also inspired by Django Reinhardt and Barney Kessel early in his life, so jazz has always been a crucial component of his playing style. It’s just hard to notice it when he’s playing complex, multi-part prog-rock suites, but the straight-ahead material he plays on Travelling makes that connection much clearer. He mines some tunes from the grease jazz canon like Jimmy Smith’s “Blues Bash” and Kenny Burrell’s “Travelin,'” and “Kenny’s Sound,” and adds originals like the mellow delight “Dream River.” The biggest revelation comes from hearing him play classic Yes tunes reconstructed for a jazz guitar/organ trio, like “Siberian Khatru,” the opening section of “Close To The Edge” and even his old classical guitar gem “Mood For A Day.” Howe plays mostly cool and thoughtful, usually deferring to Stanley to bring the heat when needed. Once or twice he might get a trite too sappy (“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”), but overall it’s a solid set by a trio that plays with intelligence and with some solid arrangements. Howe isn’t going to scare Burrell or Dave Stryker off the stage playing in front of a Hammond B-3, but he does it his own, informed way and that makes Travelling better than you might think it would be.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
Share this:
Close