Rob Reddy is seemingly never at a loss for cool album titles or band names-Quttah follows his Honor System-but he comes up short on musical ideas for However Humble, which is too bad, because he's assembled an interesting band. For Quttah, Reddy drafted violinist Charlie Burnham (String Trio of New York, Susie Ibarra) and cellist Rufus Cappadocia (Paradox Trio). Together with bassist Dom Richards, Reddy keeps a string trio at the core of However Humble. Guitarist Jef Lee Johnson and percussionist Hearn Gadbois round out the group.
The point, one suspects, was having musicians on hand who could handle Reddy's concept of jazz plus whatever else he can toss on top. The group does dutifully handle the Euro-folk bit, the Middle Eastern bit, the free bit, the blues bit and the classical bit. Unfortunately, Reddy shoves this hasty eclecticism somewhat awkwardly into his compositional template: on every tune, Reddy strings a long, lamentful, samey-sounding theme from one end to the other. There are fine moments: Reddy's boys shine on the jazz-meets-deep-soul number "Heal." And there are some not so fine: the title track-due somewhat to Johnson's strummy acoustic and Gadbois' clip-clop percussion-risks sounding like the unholy love child of The Dave Matthews Band and the Gypsy Kings.
Despite some good playing (especially from Reddy himself), by the end you might suspect you've been listening to the same song, rearranged for every genre bin in the record store.