Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ted Howe: Love Song

No one reworks the harmonic patterns of standards with the imagination of pianist Ted Howe. Thanks to his arranger’s ear, gems like “Let’s Do It” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” boast voicings that often find bassist Chris Colangelo harmonizing below Howe’s left hand, playing unexpected root tones that often have a noir effect. But before the accent is put on the wrong chops, be assured that Howe is a triple threat: His keyboard technique underscores an insight that thrives on postbop fluidity.

Then there are the songs he co-wrote with lyricist Rebekah Miller, particularly “If I Had Known” and the title track. They’re both interpreted by Lainie Kazan, who has evolved into one of the most poignant cabaret singers around. She negotiates the tricky key changes in the bridge of “If I Had Known” with deceptive ease. Another vocalist on the session, Giacomo Gates, is not so fortunate. His pleasant baritone struggles with the only Howe originals that don’t “lay well”: “I’ll Remember Your Smile” and “Midnight on the Beach.” But Gates gets the chance to redeem himself with his unique scatting on “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published