This is the kind of playing I would give parts of my body to master. It’s just Howard, his guitar, and a batch of great songs. And, Howard has mastered them. And to the best of my knowledge he’s still got all his body parts.
Talk about chordal knowledge. Talk about chops. Check out “Gone With the Wind.” It’s a jaw-dropping display of guitar playing. Same with “Crazy She Calls Me.” To take six-strings (well, actually seven in Howard’s case), and make something this beautiful and soulful is truly an art form. By the way, I mentioned the seven strings, and Howard uses them all to his advantage. Take a listen to some of the chord forms and bass runs here. He shows an incredible knowledge and facility.
You may know that Alden did the guitar work in Woody Allen’s movie, Sweet and Lowdown. If you haven’t seen it, it tells the tale of a fictional guitarist (played by Sean Penn) who is the master of his instrument, but not of himself. Two songs from that movie are featured on this disc, along with a great set of standards. One of those didn’t make the cut, but shows up here as a nice (if very short) piece.
If you like solo jazz guitar, you’ve got to have this one. I don’t know that there are many guitarists ho still do this thing. I do know there aren’t many who do it this well.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.