Howard Glazer – Looking In The Mirror | Album Review

howardglazercdHoward Glazer – Looking In The Mirror

Lazy Brothers Records LAZ 13002

12 songs – 59 minutes

Currently reigning as the best blues and R&B Instrumentalist in Detroit, where he’s a perennial nominee for top honors, Howard Glazer delivers searing signature guitar lines regardless of the format. Equally accomplished on slide, electric and resonator guitars and a longtime veteran of the Motown music scene, he follows up his highly acclaimed 2013 release, Stepchild Of The Blues, delivering a collection of originals that stick closely to the blues format rather than blues/rock common to his most recent work.

The son of a professional sax player who worked with Don Pablo & His Orchestra, Glazer put down the trumpet for the six-string at age seven and has worked in everything from jazz to punk ever since. He grew up listening to the MC5 and the Stooges, but made his foray into the blues in the early ‘70s after meeting poet/activist John Sinclair. That relationship resulted in an introduction, recording session and long friendship with first generation superstar Honeyboy Edwards. He’s also worked extensively with Harmonica Shah.

Glazer’s style of blues has always incorporated a sense of rawness and anticipation common to Motor City Music as well as containing his own inner-most thoughts, and that’s definitely evident here. Joining Howard in the studio for this session are a rhythm section of Chris Brown on bass and Charles David Stuart on drums. They’re augmented by singers Maggie McCabe and Stephanie Johnson as well as organist Larry Marek on four tracks and trumpeter David Kocbus and flutist Tom Schmaltz on one track each.

“Midnight Postman” kicks off with a catchy riff on the electric guitar as Glazer swings from the hip and delivers plenty of sexual innuendo about “delivering the mail at nighttime and in the morning, too.” His skills come to the fore during a mid-song solo with organ response. Howard switches to tremolo for “Broken Down Hotel Blues,” which features the rhythm section and paints a picture of suffering while positively yearning for change.

The blues rocker “Take Me Baby” features some rapid-fire fretwork and a duet with McCabe before the pace slows and mood darkens for “All I Ever Wanted,” an introspective tale about always winding up with something entirely different than what was desired. Glazer and McCabe trade vocal riffs accompanied by trumpet solo on “Walking In Detroit.” It’s a blues shuffle full of hometown imagery about the joy of hanging with friends. The slow burner “Eviction Blues” follows, allowing Glazer and Marek to stretch out their chops for seven-plus minutes. Next up, “Feeling So Bad” is Howard’s tribute to guitar hero Johnny Winter, featuring some rock-steady slide work on the resonator. The title cut, “Looking In The Mirror,” which follows, is a blues rocker that offers a flavor of the 1960s blues movement in England.

A catchy slide guitar riff carries the introspective “Wandering Trails” forward as Glazer wonders about various aspects of a relationship and needing to care and live for today to reach your goalsThe straight-ahead rocker “Pushing The Limits,” with a psychedelic Chuck Berry-esque riff, precedes “Misunderstood The Devil,” a retelling of the legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads, albeit with a modern twist, before the modern Detroit blues “Emergency” concludes the set.

Never repetitive or boring, Looking In The Mirror presents Glazer at his finest. Good songs, great musicianship throughout. Highly recommended.

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