Owen Howard

Time Cycles

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Owen Howard assembled an ideal band to interpret his compositions, including the twin saxophonists Andrew Rathburn and John O'Gallagher, pianist Gary Versace, and bassist John Hebert. Beginning with the constantly shifting "Derailer" (a reference to shifting gears on a bike), the drummer often implies the rhythm while playing a bit off center. Three different versions of the African-flavored "Kalimba" feature Rathburn and O'Gallagher on soprano sax, each has a distinctive sound even with the same melody. "Sonny Side Up," a tribute to Sonny Rollins, opens with a Caribbean-like solo by the leader, with the tenors dancing around this engaging theme. John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" receives a fresh treatment, played in a rather laid-back setting with Howard's off-center drumming keeping it on edge. Recommended.

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