Howe Gelb and Lonna Kelly: Further Standards (Fire)

 |   |  1 min read

Ownin' It
Howe Gelb and Lonna Kelly: Further Standards (Fire)

The always interesting Howe Gelb does exactly what he wants and in recent years that has seen the man behind desert psych-rockers Giant Sand work with Spanish musicians, write albums of piano music and on his last outing Future Standards explore the idea of new original material which are in the vein of piano jazz classics.

Future Standards was interesting enough (not to Giant Sand fans, or even those who enjoyed the Spanish music) but in our review we noted Gelb's lyrics were complex, often wry and sometimes just too overwhelming. The sun “adjourns” on Clear for example. Irving Berlin would never have written that.

This sequel of sorts comes under a misleading title because there are only a couple of new :standards” here but oddly this works so much better than its predecessor.

That's because about halfway through after Sweet Confusion there is applause from the small live audience – it was recorded in London – and you are immediately located at some slightly threadbare nightclub off the Strip, probably called Al's Twilight Cocktail Lounge.

It's around midnight when pianist-singer Gelb, occasional singer Kelly and the group (drums, bass, guitar) make their way through their set.

Gelb sometimes sounds dusty and worn down but invigorated by the ghosts of old tunes like All of Me, Call Me Irresponsible, On the Street Where You Live and so on, and his excellent band. So those Future Standards songs now seem to come in a context which they deserve.

Gelb has written some excellent piano ballads of worn-out love and emotions drained (May You Never Fall in Love, the beautifully sentimental Ownin' It with Kelly, Terribly So . .. all of which were on the earlier album).

So this is an odd one because if you bought into Future Standards this – albeit in a live setting – covers mostly the same ground.

If you missed that earlier one start here with Sweet Confusion at the midpoint and imagine yourself in smoky Al's cocktail bar, just another of the patrons who've come in from the pokie machines in the other room, attracted here by the dusty-voiced singer and the low lighting.

And it will all make sense.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall (Sony CD/DVD)

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall (Sony CD/DVD)

Yes agreed, Thriller three years later was bigger and better, but Jackson's '79 Off the Wall is historically more important because it was such a pop/r'n'b/disco-cum-funk game-changer. He... > Read more

Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Two years ago when this Auckland singer-songwriter and very special guitarist released his Recollection album (acoustic treatments of Street Talk and solo songs) I noted that it served to remind... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

VINYL VINYL VINYL (2018): Record Store Day at Southbound

VINYL VINYL VINYL (2018): Record Store Day at Southbound

Although Record Store Day -- this year Saturday April 21 -- has become a commercial enterprise with limited edition vinyl of records you probably don't need by major artists cashing in, there is... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE MONKS: Gabba Gabba Hey Hey we're the Monks

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE MONKS: Gabba Gabba Hey Hey we're the Monks

Because of its lo-fi, raw and untutored quality, the Black Monk Time album by a group of five former GIs who had been stationed in Germany in the early Sixties has been widely hailed by the likes... > Read more