Steve Howe is best known as the guitarist for Yes, Asia and GTR. Howe is a progressive rock player with substantial jazz influences. The thing that has always hurt Howe is that only a musician can appreciate how good his playing is. Howe is rarely an over the top soloist, which is generally the only way some of the audience can judge guitar playing, and so Howe only gets his props among those in the know.
Among those players, he is mentioned in the same breath as Steve Morse and Eric Johnson, which is high praise indeed. Howe has incredible range over a variety of guitars of which he has an extensive collection. He is not merely a niche player, album sales of Yes in the United States alone are nearly 14 million.
But Howe creates compositions that are nearly impossible to play. Listening to his work with Yes, Howe works over songs of incredible length, easily switching between complex timing signatures, key changes, styles and textures. You notice there are very few Yes cover bands?
Its hard to pin down how to describe how Howe flits between country, folk, jazz, blues and rock, often in the same song. Most lists leave Steve Howe out of the all-time greats, and they’re wrong.