Steve Howe is the master of diversity on the six-string. With his new CD he covers the entire musical Spectrum and beyond. The entire album is instrumental and he certainly makes an immense statement without any vocals added to each track. There is no need for his Yes band mates Anderson and Squire to add any vocals to this mix; it is a complete masterpiece without that element present. Rick Wakeman’s son Oliver and his own two talented offspring, Dylan and Virgil, join Howe, which is a stunning combination of the old guard and the new blood emerging from the Yes family. Howe is one smart cookie, he has bass player supreme Tony Levin is in the studio for the sessions to round out his resonating guitar oriented compositions. God knows how Levin finds the time to play on all of the projects he does. He is simply incredible.
When I finally sat down to write this review I had already listened to this album four times! I enjoy it more with each listen. Songs like "Tigers Den" and "Realm Thirteen" have irresistible hooks and rhythms that are as unique as they are inviting. Even to ears that are normally unaccustomed or not ready to roll out the welcome mat to progressive-jazz-rock-fusion would be surprised to find many pleasant and appealing melodies all over this CD even though it is decidedly fusion and progressive.
Howe is equally adept with the acoustic or electric guitar, hence his ability to rock and play softer more jazz Latin inflected numbers to enhance your listening experience and make it an all around instrumental voyage through several different styles. I have a fondness for prog-rock and jazz fusion, whether it is acoustic or electric it does not really matter to me, I simply love it all. You hear will jazz, rock, country, blues, or combinations of them all in electric and acoustic settings during the course of Howe’s brilliant compositions. This is guitar 101. If you are an avid listener of the Howe repertoire or wish to study one of the more diverse and incredible guitar players on the face of the earth today, check out Spectrum now.