Jack Howard’s Passing Parade

Read our review of Jack Howard’s The Passing Parade

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Jack Howard Releases

The Passing Parade EP

22 February 2016

Jack Howard will shortly be releasing a six-track EP The Passing Parade.  Performed, produced, programmed and written by Jack, it contains a mellow mood, with insightful songs and tasty arrangements.  Howard is known for some impressive solo outings and side projects since his days with Hunters & Collectors where his trumpet work provided a critical and unique layer for the sound of that legendary Australian outfit.

Jack’s long-time compadre Nicky Del Rey features with his own brand of inventive guitar and Heather Michael (from Jack’s Bacharach band) adds some important backing vocals.  But The Passing Parade is largely all Jack Howard – the easy voice, the reflective songs, the trademark stellar trumpet and the subtle horn arrangements.

 

jack howard the passing parade

I have had a pre-release copy on high rotation for a while – it’s one to savour.  You can pre-order the The Passing Parade.

You can watch an atmospheric video of one of the tracks “A Foggy Night” here:

 

 

 

I caught up with Jack recently and posed a few questions on the new release.

 

Jack, congratulations of the new EP The Passing Parade.  It’s got a really nice, cool vibe to it, hard to pin any genre to it.  Was that your intention?

I was really just after six strong songs and I wanted to finish them at home. The sounds that I like to use in Logic (my preferred choice of music program) probably lead it to sound a certain way – electric piano, strings, flugel horns; and pretty simple grooves. A lot of atmosphere.

You’ve been quite prolific. Is it five full releases since your 2012 best of – The Story So Far?  Why choose to do an EP now?

Really, I’ve released five since 2012? Maybe I will give up my day job. I couldn’t afford a full band record this time around and I had these six songs very close at home. I figured that six good songs was better than fifteen songs, half of which might be fillers (which is usually the case, no matter how hard you try). Something different, as well. Try and keep people on their toes – ooh, an EP! What’s he up to now?

I might be showing my age here, but I remember a US radio show in the 60’s or 70’s The Passing Parade hosted by John Doremus which recounted strange, but true, historical events, both famous and unknown.  Or it could be people/traffic watching?  How did the EP get its name?

It’s from a line in one the songs (“One Word”). I suppose it’s self-referential in that I tend to be an observer rather than a joiner.

According to the sleeve notes, The Passing Parade contains guitars from your excellent sidekick Nicky Del Ray and some backing vocals from Heather Michaels. Everything else (songs, all other playing, programming and production) is your own work.  You must like your own company!

Just something different. I’m always tinkering at home and thought I’d put this one out. Call it my Prince moment (maybe I’ll start charging $400 a pop for people to see me play live. One man and his trumpet – all yours for the price of a week’s rent!) I do get to play with so many amazing musicians in the course of a typical year and that won’t stop til I die, I hope.

Seriously, aside from your trademark pristine trumpet which is a joy to listen to as usual, what else specifically did you personally put into the mix here?

Everything but guitar and backing vocals.

“A Foggy Night” is the opener track, I love the lonesome trumpet start and the funky build-up.  It’s lyrics are very atmospheric – the misty backstreets of Brunswick early in the morning, heading home.  Where did the narrative inspiration come from?

That one’s very literal. We played at a party in Brunswick and afterwards I drove back to the holiday house that my wife and I were staying in. Almost no-one on the roads and continuous freeways.

Nicky’s well-known as one of the best guitarists around Australia (he puts in a lovely solo on “Don’t Freeze Me Out”). I don’t know Heather Michael – could you tell me a little about her?

I teach music with Heather at Wesley College in Melbourne and she’s in our Bacharach team. I love her voice. She’s a very passionate musician. She’s performed a lot of Flamenco-style music over the years. Also plays brilliant flute.

Your trumpet work in “City Lights” is a stand out.  There’s not a lot of bands that have trumpets as a core instrument – Calexico (a favourite for me) is one that comes to mind.  Which other trumpeters inspire you?

Miles Davis, Clifford Brown; but I tend to be inspired more by guitarists and singers/rock bands than jazz trumpeters. People like Tom Waits, Laura Viers, Don Walker. And I come from an orchestral background so I love the sound of epic horns and strings. Think Mahler and Debussy; and Duke Ellington and Mingus in the jazz world.

Interesting artwork and design by Flynn Howard – a relative?

My son! He’s spending a lot of time at the moment doing some beautiful drawing and calligraphy. (Now if he’d just do the dishes!) 

I hope he got paid for it!

I never stop paying.

It’s off-point but I’ve never gotten around to asking you.  When Hunters and Collectors supported Bruce Springsteen in 2014 (great set at AAMI Park in Melbourne by the way), did you get a chance to meet him?

No, unfortunately, and I’m a massive fan. I’d rather not talk about it! %-{

Where can people get a copy/pre-order The Passing Parade?

At jackhoward.bandcamp.com (mail order CD or download); or in Melbourne at Reading’s, Basement Discs and Greville Records.

Any tour dates announced yet to promote the EP

No live shows to support this release; but big plans on another front which I’ll keep you posted about!

 

Read our review of Jack Howard’s The Passing Parade

 

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Author: Rob Dickens

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