Steve Howe: Time

Steve Howe: class act.

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Five long years in the making – we can only assume he likes a tea break or his work with Yes and Asia have kept him busy – Steve Howe’s latest album, and first with a classical ensemble, is tailor made for people who like to play their air guitar with restraint and a look of earnest concentration on their face.

Howe’s playing has always encompassed classical, folk and rock, and you only have to see the audience’s reaction when he plays the intro to Roundabout or Clap live to know that dexterity’s probably his watchword.

Here, whether with steel, Spanish, electric or acoustic guitar (he even does near impossible things with the banjo on Orange), Howe’s playing is both sublime and spectacular and only let down by some of the contemporary material he’s chosen to perform, which was always going to sound obtuse next to work by Vivaldi or Villa-Lobos.