Paul Howards

So the Story Goes

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With the supply of new sax players never seeming to ebb, the up and comers on small indie labels may figure their best bet is to win some sort of soundalike competition, get their names out there, and then break through with something original to blow. If Paul Howards was the first saxman you ever heard in this genre, his silk meets funk fire would indeed be worth getting excited about. He knows how to write an easy to digest radio classic and throws off sparks on both alto and tenor that few could argue with. He and keyboardist Michael Crain are also adept at creating perfectly smooth sonic atmospheres. He's no doubt studied his craft and market thoroughly. Unfortunately, there are simply too many Sanborn (on alto) and Richard Elliot (on tenor) clones out there already for Howards to really make much of an impact as an original on either horn. Then again, you could say that about any number of today's young, more established players and argue that they've found their niches. So it's a toss up, great to listen to even if we've heard it done better before. Highlights among the typical pop-funk are the "Europa"-esque ballad "'Til the End of Time" and the tune destined to receive the most airplay, "Eola Nights," with the distinctive touch of co-composer Brian Culbertson. Like Andy Snitzer and Nelson Rangell, who once also did the Sanborn thing a little too closely, Howards seems likely to break out and someday find a sound of his own.

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