Ted Howe's tribute album, Revealing the Jazz Soul of Elton John, takes a piano excursion through territory that few jazz artists find the time to consider.
Howe's trio transforms each pop song into a straight ahead jazz medium filled with the swing and sway of Elton's gentle emotions. In Howe's hands, pop music swings like Ellington and sways like Basie.
Howe explores each melody with finesse. Partnering with acoustic bass and drums, he settles in comfortably with each lingering melody. The session runs smooth and gentle, with creative fires burning on high heat. Two tracks which add Latin percussion to the formula sizzle with more intensity than the rest. Howe likes to build his phrases and let them diminish in caressing waves that rise and fall with subtle emotion.
John Patitucci's soulful solo lines weave among Howe's swirling piano melodies, creating a pleasant affair. Life is simple. There are no problems to consider. Just enjoy the music without regrets. After all, Elton John's songs do deal with our emotions in a relaxed manner. It's all about reflection and finding answers to our problems.
- Jim Santella