Greg Howe, released in 1988 by Shrapnel Records. Prior to its recording, Howe had sent a demo tape to Shrapnel founder Mike Varney in 1987, after which he was signed to the label.
Gregory "Greg" Howe (born December 8, 1963) is an
American guitarist and composer. As an active musician for nearly thirty
years, he has released eight studio albums in addition to collaborating
with a wide variety of artists.
After leaving high school and playing the club circuit around the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas with his brother Albert (a singer) for most of the 1980s, Greg Howe officially began his solo career after sending a demo tape to Shrapnel Records in 1987, upon which he was immediately signed by founder Mike Varney. His self-titled debut album was released in 1988, during the popular shred era, and went on to become his highest-selling album; a 2009 article in Guitar World magazine ranked it tenth in the all-time top ten list of shred albums.
The following year, he joined with Albert to form a Van Halen-inspired hard rock group named Howe II. Through Shrapnel, they released two studio albums: High Gear (1989) and Now Hear This (1991). His second solo album, Introspection, was released in 1993. At this point his style had changed radically from the straightforward instrumental rock of both his debut and the Howe II albums, to a more jazz fusion-laden approach which remains unique and identifiable to this day; some of his signature traits being fast left-hand legato passages (having been influenced greatly by jazz fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth), and the frequent use of tapping and odd time signatures. One particularly noteworthy aspect of Howe's legato technique is the "hammer-on from nowhere", in which a note is hammered-on to a different string without first being picked.
A trio of albums spanning the middle part of the decade—Uncertain Terms (1994), Parallax (1995) and Five (1996)—were all a consistent evolution of the sound he had adopted on Introspection. During this time he collaborated twice with fellow guitarist Richie Kotzen for the albums Tilt and Project in 1995 and 1997, respectively. He then briefly dabbled with a heavier, neo-classical metal style for his 1999 release, Ascend, which featured keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij.
However, he has since spoken of his dissatisfaction for that project,
as well as an earlier collaboration on Kuprij's own album, High Definition (1997).
After switching labels to Shrapnel's jazz-oriented counterpart, Tone Center Records, he returned to his familiar style with Hyperacuity
(2000), which still stands as some of his most prominent
experimentation with jazz fusion. After a highly troubled recording
process for Extraction (2003)—a collaboration with drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Victor Wooten—he took an extended hiatus from recording solo material until the release of his eighth studio album, Sound Proof, in 2008.
In a 2015 article by Guitar World, Howe was ranked 10th in the Top 10 Pick Squealers of All Time.
During the mid- to late '80s, talent scout and Shrapnel Records owner Mike Varney was the ultimate source for new high-tech guitar virtuosos in the post-Yngwie Malmsteen era (Malmsteen was also one of his finds). Among the dozens of young guns who emerged from Varney's stable, Greg Howe was one of the best. His debut album, Greg Howe,
was groove-based, and favored funk and fusion flavors over gothic
neo-classicism. It sounded fresh compared to the melodramatic work of
peers like, say, Vinnie Moore. Front-loaded with two devastating tracks, "Kick It All Over" and "The Pepper Shake," Greg Howe
is immediately engaging. Unlike other music in the note-heavy "shred"
genre, these two pieces sound fun rather than academic; the irresistibly
slippery grooves provided by the crack rhythm section of Atma Anur (drums) and Billy Sheehan (bass) provide a supple bed for Howe's
playful fretwork. Unfortunately, the rest of the album falls off a bit
after that. The remaining tracks have some interesting ideas and plenty
of enthusiastic performances, but sound more like vamps for Howe's soloing than songs. A few premonitions of Howe's more fusion-based future reveal themselves on Greg Howe, although it's primarily a high-octane, indulgent rock romp. Worth hearing.
Courtesy Original Uploader.
1. Kick It All Over
2. The Pepper Shake
3. Bad Racket
4. Super Unleaded
5. Land of Ladies
6. Straight Up
7. Red Handed
8. After Hours
9. Little Rose
Greg Howe – guitar
Atma Anur – drums
Billy Sheehan – bass