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the sonic kaleidoscope of howie gelb deckard   I  el humilde fotero del pánico Accompanied by only a piano and a guitar, the unclassifiable United States musician Howe Gelb has appeared recently in two minor Basque venues (Muskiz and Zarautz) with a totally different set up than that used months ago in the Donostia Jazzaldia. Months ago Gelb inaugurated this latter event on the beach of Zurriola surrounded by the gospel chorus with which he recorded “No Angel Like You,” his latest solo work. Gelb’s prestige, inversely proportional to his public recognition, derives from a vast oeuvre that, starting from alt country revisionism, always assumes with certainty the risk of incorporating almost any musical style.

The main current of his work goes by the name Giant Sand, the originary group established in Tuscon, Arizona. From this group Gelb’s different alternative projects stem, like branches, alongside those of other bandmates in Giant Sand. Together these artists have spent nearly 30 years translating different musical styles using a foundation of peripheral rock with a heavy American accent.
OP8, The Band of Blacy Ranchette, Giant Sandworms, or more recently, Arizona Amp and Alternator, are only a few of the thousand faces with which Gelb develops work rooted in the mother group, Giant Sand. Additionally, this group has brought to light such illustrious derivations as The Friends of Dean Martinez and, most importantly, Calexico—the successful combo of Joey Burns and John Convertino. With these two musicians still in his ranks and with the production, for the first time, of John Parish, Giant Sand recorded what probably constitutes a career high for Gelb, the inimitable “Chore of Enchantment” (2000), which has been defined as “the sound of the desert".

Without neglecting his main project, Howe Gelb has found some time to record two other instrumental piano albums or the mentioned album with the gospel chorus. He has also cooperated in his long time friend, Rainer Ptacek’s project, the person who discovered the slide guitar.
Always restless, this gravely voice that some people compare to Lou Reed’s still keeps adding color and form to his musical kaleidoscope by recording a “molecular music” album with an Austrian band. Moreover, he is working on a new piano album and has also accepted Fernando Vacas’ (Flow, Prin La La) invitation to try some flamenco music. Gelb keeps going, always moving forward.