October 2, 2015

Purchase “American Spirit” now for limited-time bonus gift

“American Spirit” celebrates diverse voices and perspectives, ranging from jazz to Appalachian, gospel, and even classical music. More importantly, it’s an invitation to reflect upon, articulate, and express what American Spirit means to you.

 

 

At 43, as my daughter starts college and my son begins kindergarten, it feels like a new phase, an opportunity for me to contribute to a conversation about American identity that celebrates positive qualities like diversity, creativity, and perseverance. The album is a starting point for such a conversation.

 

American Spirit (Hardcopy Only) - Christian Howes (2015)
Christian Howes' 14th studio album (4th with Resonance Records), "American Spirit" celebrates diverse American voices and perspectives on America, ranging from straight ahead and modern jazz to Americana, gospel and R'n'B.
This album will be MAILED to you at the address listed with your Paypal profile. Your bonus downloadable chart will be sent via email immediately upon purchase.
Price: $18.99

 
ChristianHowesAmericanSpiritAlbumCover

From the liner notes: Howes’ progression, which from his early youthful enthusiasm, with a wild blond mane that in full throttle performance bore a whirling dervish quality, has blossomed into a veteran’s assuredness.  On the violin there’s now a sense of grace that serves this music marvelously and more substantively than the seemingly reckless, no holds barred abandon of his youth.  There is a sophisticated élan in his playing that speaks to acquired wisdom and taste.  Christian Howes’ development has been delightful to behold, especially for we Ohioans who recall the callow youth from Columbus.

 

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The title track is one of three Christian Howes originals, broadened by the dark roasted tone of the Octave Geiger hybrid instrument, pitched an octave lower than violin, a range between viola and cello.  “It enables me to cover the viola and cello range in my one-man string section arrangements.”

 

with Ben Williams, Josh Nelson, George Klabin, Hamilton Hardin, and Gregory Hutchinson

In the studio with Ben Williams, Josh Nelson, George Klabin, Hamilton Hardin, and Gregory Hutchinson

The opener, one of Leonard Bernstein’s signature songs from West Side Story, elicits richly evocative violin work, including the leader’s quote from “Maria”.  Lest one so completely immerse oneself in these fertile arrangements (including four from the pen of pianist Tamir Handelman) and the successful cohort interplay of this date, Howes closes the proceedings with a “Postlude,” substantiating his prodigious playing in solo.  “A solo piece is imperative to my personal artistic identity,” he verifies, “it tells my story”.  It uses jazz scales and progressions, although it clearly incorporates elements of classical tradition.  The connection to the classical world is very important in order to create a ‘bridge’ whereby non-jazz listeners will connect to the rest of the material on the album.” 

 

There is much to appreciate about this date, from its captivating arrangements to Howes and company’s virtuosic playing, to its sense of true Americana.  Interestingly the idea behind this theme stemmed from Howes’ State Department-sponsored residencies abroad.  “Working with the State Department, as well as traveling around the world for many years has inspired me to think about what it is to feel pride in being American,” Howes asserts.  Clearly “American Spirit” is the work of an artist who has grown exponentially yet remains on an upward arc, as evidenced by his most successful recording to date.  Drop this one in the player and you be the judge.  As Howes succinctly declares, “Jazz is quintessentially American, and art, including music, has a way of clarifying what words sometimes cannot,” as you are about to discover in “American Spirit.”

TRACKS:

1. America (4:30)

2. Both Sides Now (5:45)

3. Once Upon a Time in America (4:52)

4. Just a Closer Walk (5:56)

5. Galop (7:11)

6. American Spirit (6:23)

7. T’Aint Nobody’s Bizness (4:50)

8. Amazing (5:05)

9. Shenandoah (4:18)

10. Angela (Theme from “Taxi”) (5:09)

11. Postlude (4:13)

 

PERSONNEL:

  • Christian Howes: violin, and octave geiger
  • Josh Nelson: piano (tracks 1, 3-7, 10)
  • Hamilton Hardin: organ, piano (tracks 2, 4, 8, 9)
  • Ben Williams: bass
  • Gregory Hutchinson: drums
  • Polly Gibbons: vocals (tracks 7, 9)

American Spirit (Hardcopy Only) - Christian Howes (2015)
Christian Howes' 14th studio album (4th with Resonance Records), "American Spirit" celebrates diverse American voices and perspectives on America, ranging from straight ahead and modern jazz to Americana, gospel and R'n'B.
This album will be MAILED to you at the address listed with your Paypal profile. Your bonus downloadable chart will be sent via email immediately upon purchase.
Price: $18.99

 

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