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Album Review

Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli played together a number of times over the years during jazz parties and in concerts, though the two seven-string guitarists never made a full CD together until In a Mellow Tone (though Alden appeared on a few tracks of Pizzarelli's A Portrait). Both heirs to the legacy of guitarist George Van Eps (who popularized the instrument), these two masters make magic on any session in which either of them takes place; combining the two meant that there was no reason for any additional players. With the extra string providing each man the ability to play a bassline for the other, they have a ball in the studio as they trade off playing gems like their cooking renditions of "In a Mellow Tone," "Cherokee," and "Three Little Words." Their slightly brisker treatment of Claude Thornhill's theme song "Snow Fall" works beautifully, while their intimate approach to "What's New" is among the best versions available on record or CD. They also capture the playful spirit of "Jitterbug Waltz" with a brilliant arrangement. Alden tackles both the haunting "In the Dark" and a brief take of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" as solos. The sale of this highly recommended CD benefits the Sante Fe Jazz Foundation, which assisted Alden when illness limited his ability to tour for an extended period.

Biography

Born: 17 October 1958 in Newport Beach, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

Part of the '80s swing movement, Howard Alden is a brilliant guitarist (on both electric and acoustic) who has also mastered the seven-string guitar and the banjo. Alden started off playing banjo in Dixieland bands in pizza parlors in Southern California. When he acquired a guitar, he took lessons from Jimmy Wyble and Howard Roberts. He worked at Disneyland when he was 18 and in 1978 debuted in the big leagues with Red Norvo. Since moving to New York in 1982, Alden has worked with many great veterans...
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In A Mellow Tone, Howard Alden
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