These are ‘Future Standards’ by The Howe Gelb Piano Trio, taking an outsider view of early gospel and rhythm and blues both part of the American musical socialization that he touched on with 2006’s ‘Sno Angel’. Now he’s on a jazz-tinged trip, bending the genre, taking it back to his shack.
On ‘Future Standards’, Gelb duets with the equally laconic Lonna Kelley as the pair come on like a seasoned duo managed by Broadway Danny Rose in Woody Allen’s film of the same name. Gelb’s piano sinks to a pedal-depressed ambience as his cavalier vocal boasts of new love and faded times, all In the best tradition of the American Songbook that he’s pretty damn cleverly adding a new volume to.
"This is an attempt at writing a batch of tunes that could last through the ages with the relative structure of what has become known as "standards". The likes of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael done up by Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday," suggests Howe. "Julie London had a lot to do with it."
"The challenge with this kind of session lies in the culmination of 3 essential elements;
1st, writing a sophisticated chord structure that allows the melody to weave beyond its confines. Something cohesive and familiar, but still alluring and uncharted.
2nd, a lyrical playfulness. The science of love revealed and revelled, the celebration and the lament, while remaining vulnerable and still intact with new knowledge of where it can only go.
3rd, an offhanded execution. To display each song as if it's already an old standard. Keeping it intimate and communal in one go. Making it a party instead of making it precious. To deliver the lines with natural serendipity, lingering behind the beat, offering a pause in love's resignation through resonation.
These moments of melody framed in rhythm and rhyme along the pathway reproducing the species, if only to remind us, to validate, to assure;