|Birth name||Gregory Howe|
December 8, 1963 |
New York City, New York, United States
|Genres||Instrumental rock, jazz fusion, hard rock|
|Occupations||Musician, composer, producer|
|Labels||Shrapnel, Tone Center|
|Associated acts||Michael Jackson, Enrique Iglesias, 'N Sync, Justin Timberlake, Maragold|
Gregory "Greg" Howe (born December 8, 1963) is an American guitarist and composer. As an active musician for nearly thirty years, he has released eight studio albums in addition to collaborating with a wide variety of artists.
After leaving high school and playing the club circuit around the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas with his brother Albert (a singer) for most of the 1980s, Greg Howe officially began his solo career after sending a demo tape to Shrapnel Records in 1987, upon which he was immediately signed by founder Mike Varney. His self-titled debut album was released in 1988, during the popular shred era, and went on to become his highest-selling album; a 2009 article in Guitar World magazine ranked it tenth in the all-time top ten list of shred albums.
The following year, he joined with Albert to form a Van Halen-inspired hard rock group named Howe II. Through Shrapnel, they released two studio albums: High Gear (1989) and Now Hear This (1991). His second solo album, Introspection, was released in 1993. At this point his style had changed radically from the straightforward instrumental rock of both his debut and the Howe II albums, to a more jazz fusion-laden approach which remains unique and identifiable to this day; some of his signature traits being fast left-hand legato passages (having been influenced greatly by jazz fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth), and the frequent use of tapping and odd time signatures.
A trio of albums spanning the middle part of the decade—Uncertain Terms (1994), Parallax (1995) and Five (1996)—were all a consistent evolution of the sound he had adopted on Introspection. During this time he collaborated twice with fellow guitarist Richie Kotzen for the albums Tilt and Project in 1995 and 1997, respectively. He then briefly dabbled with a heavier, neo-classical metal style for his 1999 release, Ascend, which featured keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij. However, he has since spoken of his dissatisfaction for that project, as well as an earlier collaboration on Kuprij's own album, High Definition (1997).
After switching labels to Shrapnel's jazz-oriented counterpart, Tone Center Records, he returned to his familiar style with Hyperacuity (2000), which still stands as some of his most prominent experimentation with jazz fusion. After a highly troubled recording process for Extraction (2003)–a collaboration with drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Victor Wooten—he took an extended hiatus from recording solo material until the release of his eighth studio album, Sound Proof, in 2008.
Currently residing in Long Beach, California (having previously lived in Easton, Pennsylvania until around 2006), Howe continues to work as a session musician and producer, as well as providing online guitar lessons through his official website. From 2010 onwards he has toured Europe for the first time, having long stated a desire to tour the continent as a solo artist. In 2012 it was announced that Howe will play in a new band named Maragold, which will include drummer Gianluca Palmieri (who previously played on Sound Proof), bassist Kevin Vecchione (from Five), as well as new vocalist Meghan Krauss. A promotional video was uploaded to YouTube on October 6, 2012, and the band's self-titled album was released on April 23, 2013.
Session and touring career
Amidst his solo career, Howe has continuously made himself available as a session musician for many of the world's biggest pop stars. Most recently he has played with artists such as Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Lady Antebellum, P Diddy, T-Pain and Salt-n-Pepa. In 1996, he replaced Jennifer Batten as primary guitarist during the Asian and European legs of singer Michael Jackson's HIStory World Tour. He would later provide guitar duties for singer Enrique Iglesias in 2000, which culminated in a series of high-profile televised performances and a European tour. The following two years saw Howe recruited as lead guitarist for boy band 'N Sync during two tours of the United States. After singer Justin Timberlake left 'N Sync, Howe continued to tour with him in 2003.
Eight years later, Howe teamed up again with Timberlake, as well as rapper T.I., for a performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards. In the same year, Howe played as part of keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson's Ultimate Zero Project, in a line-up which included bassists Tony Levin and John Wetton, and drummers Marco Minnemann and Simon Phillips. In 2011, Howe toured Vladivostok, Italy and Israel with drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Stu Hamm. In November of that year, Michael Jackson's second posthumous album, Immortal, featured Howe's playing on "Dancing Machine" and "Beat It".
- 1988: Greg Howe
- 1993: Introspection
- 1994: Uncertain Terms
- 1995: Parallax
- 1996: Five
- 1999: Ascend
- 2000: Hyperacuity
- 2006: Collection: The Shrapnel Years (compilation)
- 2008: Sound Proof
- 2013: Maragold
- 1995: Tilt – with Richie Kotzen
- 1997: Project – with Richie Kotzen
- 2003: Extraction – with Dennis Chambers and Victor Wooten
- 1996: Convergence – James Murphy
- 1997: High Definition – Vitalij Kuprij
- 2001: Gentle Hearts – Tetsuo Sakurai
- 2004: Rhythm of Time – Jordan Rudess
- 2004: A Guitar Supreme – various guitarists compilation
- 2004: The Spirit Lives On – Jimi Hendrix tribute
- 2004: Gentle Hearts Tour 2004 – Tetsuo Sakurai
- 2005: Visions of an Inner Mounting Apocalypse: A Fusion Guitar Tribute – various guitarists compilation
- 2006: Io Canto – Laura Pausini
- 2008: Collection – Jason Becker
- 2008: Clean – Dave Martone
- 2009: Out of Oblivion – Ethan Brosh
- 2010: Vital World – Tetsuo Sakurai
- 2011: Immortal – Michael Jackson
- Malusardi, Guglielmo (October 2006). "Interview: Greg Howe". Guitar Nine Records. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Rabuffo, Mark (2008-07-22). "Greg Howe Interview". Modern Guitars Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Wood, James (2012-07-30). "Interview: Guitarist Greg Howe Discusses New Vocal Project, Maragold, and Reflects on 1988 Debut Album". Guitar World. NewBay Media. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Guitar World Staff (2009-07-09). "Top 10 Shred Albums of All Time". Guitar World. NewBay Media. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Hinds, Andy. "Greg Howe". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Burk, Greg (2008-07-10). "Record review and artist interview: Greg Howe.". MetalJazz. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Thal, Ron (2004-04-29). "interview with greg howe". Guitarist Heaven. Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Chopik, Ivan (2006-02-27). "Greg Howe Interview". Guitar Messenger. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Greg Howe Now a west coast resident". greghowe.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Greg Howe Webcam Lessons". greghowe.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- Jordan, Oscar (2011-08-26). "Interview With Greg Howe". Guitar Muse. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Greg Announces New Band - 'Maragold'". greghowe.com. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Maragold releases debut rock album". prnewsire.com. 2013-05-12.
- "About Greg : Biography. greghowe.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Greg live in Poland". greghowe.com. 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Greg Howe, Dennis Chambers, and Stu Hamm live in Italy and Israel". greghowe.com. 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
- "Greg Howe featured on Michael Jackson new album". greghowe.com. 2011-11-20. Retrieved 2012-10-14.