It is currently Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:53 am




Post new topic Reply to topic Bookmark and Share  [ 2 posts ] 
 HOLLY!, IVY!, GREG!, a REVIEW!- by DBRO 
Author Message
Site Donor
Site Donor

Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:31 am
Posts: 912
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Post HOLLY!, IVY!, GREG!, a REVIEW!- by DBRO
The Holly and The Ivy (2017)

is the newest album from Chapman Stick virtuoso Greg Howard. Right off, he has achieved a very listenable organic album, consistent from the first track to the last and created a new iconic classic that will spin in perpetuity every Holiday Season.

Newest collaborator Angela Kelly adds an angelic assortment of woodwinds in the flute variety with engaging phrasing, vibrato and innovative overdubs.

The most gratifying feature is the use of dynamics to add excitement to these arrangements as well as a salubrious feeling of peacefulness. With the au currant push for loudness in modern music, this album is a welcome oasis in a overproduced sea of compression. The music lives and breathes in the able talented hands of these wonderful musicians.

I highly recommend this new album which raises the bar and is a new classic for Holiday albums.

Available at Bandcamp
https://greghoward.bandcamp.com/album/the-holly-and-the-ivy-classic-christmas-selections
or directly from Stick Enterprises

THE REST IS FOR YOU STICKISTS!

Every cut here is superb. Although each song has merit worthy of commentary, here are a couple of standouts highlighted with my liner notes.

The eponymous titular cut starts the festivities here. Greg’s distinctive style shines especially here. [Greg’s use of repeated ostanato notes using alternate fingers, as elaborated in his “Free Hands” DVD and also in his Songbook, brings a consistent pulse with controlled dynamics to introduce the piece. A syncopated bass line adds nice space. Other techniques like the creep, an d slides into and around notes are also annotated in Greg’s DVD and Songbook and are highly recommended for future study. Brilliant use of a drone motor while Greg first plays the melody, leads way to a more melodic bass delving into thirds while Angela joins in to double the line.

The arrangements here are stellar! Reharmonization on the turnaround leads back to the familiar into of repeated notes over a syncopated bass line. This acts as a sonic sorbet to cleanse the aural palette. Legato tones by Angela allow Greg to stretch out into a finish rubato section and to have the piece just end with out a trite overused fade. Again, all of these intelligent musical choices results in a very organic very live feel.

The First Noel

Stellar arrangement once again with the use of overlapping and repeated tones created a background mantra motif over which to gently lay the melody. Angela joins in like a human Mellotron with overdubbed harmonized vibrato flutes- some in parallel harmony, some in counterpoint. The overall effect is one of stirring beauty. Greg’s vast knowledge of composition and music is seen in the very subtle fills that bridge and fold the sections seamlessly together.

Winter

Folk like and bucolic. The single solo Stick and Flute are expressive in a Baroque madrigal way providing images of soft sunlight over snow covered gently rolling hills.

Ukrainian Carol

The “Carol of the Bells” is given the public domain treatment here and is well played! Aggressive block Stick chords with some innovative reharmonization adds the syncopation and joie de vivre providing maximum sonic impact with out invoking the trite predictable TSO treatment. Refreshing indeed. Angela’s harmonized flutes carry the impact even further. Ray Conniff’s 9, #11, 13th chord ends the piece abruptly. You could hear the crowd whisper “oh yeah”.

The rest of the album is just as amazing on a listening level as it is on a much deeper level evidencing true craftsman ship in arranging and playing.

Highly recommended to buy from BandCamp and SE. Remember a CD at 4” square is a perfect stocking stuffer. This perfect album is just that stuffer!


Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:28 am
Profile My Photo Gallery
Multiple Donor
Multiple Donor
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 6308
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Post Re: HOLLY!, IVY!, GREG!, a REVIEW!- by DBRO
Wow, Dave, Thanks so much for the kind review and insights into the music. I was keenly interested in retaining an organic and dynamic sound, like a classical recording. Angela is a brilliant flutist, and she turned me on to some amazing flute recordings at the start of this project.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Greg

dbrosky wrote:
The Holly and The Ivy (2017)

is the newest album from Chapman Stick virtuoso Greg Howard. Right off, he has achieved a very listenable organic album, consistent from the first track to the last and created a new iconic classic that will spin in perpetuity every Holiday Season.

Newest collaborator Angela Kelly adds an angelic assortment of woodwinds in the flute variety with engaging phrasing, vibrato and innovative overdubs.

The most gratifying feature is the use of dynamics to add excitement to these arrangements as well as a salubrious feeling of peacefulness. With the au currant push for loudness in modern music, this album is a welcome oasis in a overproduced sea of compression. The music lives and breathes in the able talented hands of these wonderful musicians.

I highly recommend this new album which raises the bar and is a new classic for Holiday albums.

Available at Bandcamp
https://greghoward.bandcamp.com/album/the-holly-and-the-ivy-classic-christmas-selections
or directly from Stick Enterprises

THE REST IS FOR YOU STICKISTS!

Every cut here is superb. Although each song has merit worthy of commentary, here are a couple of standouts highlighted with my liner notes.

The eponymous titular cut starts the festivities here. Greg’s distinctive style shines especially here. [Greg’s use of repeated ostanato notes using alternate fingers, as elaborated in his “Free Hands” DVD and also in his Songbook, brings a consistent pulse with controlled dynamics to introduce the piece. A syncopated bass line adds nice space. Other techniques like the creep, an d slides into and around notes are also annotated in Greg’s DVD and Songbook and are highly recommended for future study. Brilliant use of a drone motor while Greg first plays the melody, leads way to a more melodic bass delving into thirds while Angela joins in to double the line.

The arrangements here are stellar! Reharmonization on the turnaround leads back to the familiar into of repeated notes over a syncopated bass line. This acts as a sonic sorbet to cleanse the aural palette. Legato tones by Angela allow Greg to stretch out into a finish rubato section and to have the piece just end with out a trite overused fade. Again, all of these intelligent musical choices results in a very organic very live feel.

The First Noel

Stellar arrangement once again with the use of overlapping and repeated tones created a background mantra motif over which to gently lay the melody. Angela joins in like a human Mellotron with overdubbed harmonized vibrato flutes- some in parallel harmony, some in counterpoint. The overall effect is one of stirring beauty. Greg’s vast knowledge of composition and music is seen in the very subtle fills that bridge and fold the sections seamlessly together.

Winter

Folk like and bucolic. The single solo Stick and Flute are expressive in a Baroque madrigal way providing images of soft sunlight over snow covered gently rolling hills.

Ukrainian Carol

The “Carol of the Bells” is given the public domain treatment here and is well played! Aggressive block Stick chords with some innovative reharmonization adds the syncopation and joie de vivre providing maximum sonic impact with out invoking the trite predictable TSO treatment. Refreshing indeed. Angela’s harmonized flutes carry the impact even further. Ray Conniff’s 9, #11, 13th chord ends the piece abruptly. You could hear the crowd whisper “oh yeah”.

The rest of the album is just as amazing on a listening level as it is on a much deeper level evidencing true craftsman ship in arranging and playing.

Highly recommended to buy from BandCamp and SE. Remember a CD at 4” square is a perfect stocking stuffer. This perfect album is just that stuffer!

_________________
Happy tapping, greg
please don't PM me, If you want to get in touch use email stickist@aol.com

Stick Lessons by Skype and Google Video Chat


Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:00 am
Profile My Photo Gallery
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Bookmark and Share  [ 2 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

board3 Portal - based on phpBB3 Portal Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group. Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forums/DivisionCore.
Heavily modified by Stickist.com. Stickist.com is an authorized Chapman Stick® site. The Chapman Stick® and NS/Stick™ and their marks are federally registered trademarks exclusively licensed to Stick Enterprises, Inc., and are used on Stickist.com and NSstickist.com with SEI's permission.
Click here for more information.