Howard Roberts is well-known among jazz guitarists. He is most noted for his tone, phrasing, and the direct, unpretentious approach to music he showed in all of his performances.
As a biographical treatment and original collection of jazz guitar transcriptions, this spiral paperback packs a lot into its 112 pages! There is a dedication by Jeff Skunk Baxter, memories of the artist by Michael Anthony, remembrances of the artist by Bob Bain, an authors introduction by Mitch Holder a brief biography a bio sidebar by Pete Jolly a section on the sound of the artist notes and sources to the transcriptions and a glossary of symbols.
The transcriptions are wonderfully presented and something all jazz guitarists will savor with much enjoyment. There is also a quotes and reminiscences section that is highly informative. Three appendix sections cover the guitars of Roberts a section covering the Benson Amp Story by Ron Benson and a selected discography.
The discography covers the top 20 hits Roberts played on. Among them such hits as "Be Bop Baby" (1957) with Ricky Nelson "Return To Me" (1958) with Dean Martin "Fever" (1958) with Peggy Lee and "Rubber Ball" (1961) with Bobby Vee. He also performed music backgrounds for numerous television shows such as "The Bill Cosby Show" "Bonanza" "The Brady Bunch" "Hawaii Five-O" "Night Gallery" "To Catch A Thief" and "Twilight Zone."
Howard Roberts' creative work in motion pictures is prolific and well beyond the room available for listing in this review but here is a brief sampling of this versatile jazz guitarist's solo work: "The Big Country" "Blue Hawaii" "Bullitt" "Camelot" "Chisum" "Cool Hand Luke" "Dirty Harry" "Hang "Em High" "How The West Was Won" "The Misfits" "Night of The Lepus" "The Pink Panther" "Prime cut" "Summer of "42" "West Side Story" "Will Penny" and "The Wild Bunch." His CD recordings are available from Euphoria.
The memorable transcriptions are educational and the jazz guitarist will find each an intricate jazz approach. Playing these transcriptions is like listening to a physical voice on guitar. Some of them are "Blusette" "Autumn Leaves" "Mr. Lucky" and "Winchester Cathedral" among others. "When Lights Are Low" is one transcription which will linger in your mind long after you have finished playing it. There are nineteen transcriptions.
If you like the work of Howard Roberts or would like an introduction this is the perfect way to get it. Mitch Holder has done a masterful job of putting the book together. Congratulations to Holder and Mel Bay Publications for making this book a reality. A fine job!