Reviewed by Nuno on 02 Oct 2003
Steve Howe is a name that needs no introduction!
Having started his career playing mostly jazz, this virtuoso guitarist has become most noticeable for his involvement with Symphonic Progressive Monsters Yes, having had a major role in some of the best albums of this genre, ever, and a very special place in rock history as a wider concept.
With a significant solo career, where many times he has complemented his ideas within that genre, this time around things are quite different…
In Elements, Howe frees himself of any attachments or chains he may have to the Yes musical paths (or Asia’s ones for that matter) and strives to take a roundabout in some quite different venues.
This album shows us a Howe filled with ideas and approaches that drive him away from any pre-conception you may had about his capacity of playing outside the Yes sphere.
Remarkably, the album presents us with a very (and I mean very) wide range of musical approaches. While maintaining its basing core over Progressive Rock elements, the music floats from Blues to Country, from Jazz to Latin, from Swingy to almost eerie relaxing moments. All is mixed in a graceful, not by all means imposing, way. This makes Elements a very interesting listen, and one that will mostly surprise this guitar gentleman’s fans.
With his sons Vigil and Dylan involved in this project, the album could be considered a Family Business if not for the inclusion of Derrick Taylor on bass and Gillad Atzmon on Sax, Flute and Clarinet.
Overall, this album will surely surprise you for its honesty and the sheer competence of its players (with Howe naturally on focus). It represents Howe’s homage to the various music styles that have influenced him throughout his life while curiously inbreeding them into a core of progressive music. And that, my friends, is what most makes this album an interesting release and a very valid purchase for all progheads, but especially those who have a (understandable and natural) admiration for this musician.