Gary Husband: A Meeting Of Spirits

Roger Farbey By

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Pianist and percussionist Gary Husband is one of the world's most gifted musicians. It would be more accurate to say that he is not merely supremely talented but also a true virtuoso of both drums and keyboards. He played on John McLaughlin's Industrial Zen, released in 2006 and with the guitarist's 4th Dimension since its 2010 debut recording, To The One, where he featured on keyboards. But as those lucky enough to have caught McLaughlin in concert will know, Husband occasionally switches to drums, displaying equal dexterity.

Husband has played with some of the most legendary musicians in fusion, including the late Jack Bruce and Allan Holdsworth, for whom Husband released an album of music dedicated to the guitarist, The Things I See: Interpretations Of The Music Of Allan Holdsworth (Art Of Life, 2001). A Meeting Of Spirits is a paean to McLaughlin and was recorded in London in November 2005, well over a decade ago.

On the opening to "Are You The One?" Husband conflates the melody of "You Know, You Know" from The Inner Mounting Flame with the semi-spoken lyric of "Are You The One? Are You The One?" which appeared on Electric Guitarist. Following the call and response multi-tracked vocal (echoing McLaughlin and Jack Bruce), the piece settles down to recall the funky rhythm of the original. The familiar strains of "The Dance Of Maya" again remind the listener of the paradigmatic-shifting significance of the The Inner Mounting Flame, surely McLaughlin's magnum opus.

"Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" from Birds Of Fire takes that track's memorable opening melody and necessarily transforms it from the frenetic Mahavishnu Orchestra version to an attractively lyrical one. Where Husband obviously can't reproduce Billy Cobham's incendiary drumming he makes do with what he refers to, rather aeronautically, as "in-piano percussion," but still, it works.

The final four tracks "Alap"; "Lotus Feet (Reprise)"; "Earth Bound Hearts" and "Development And Closing" are partitioned into a segment entitled "Epilogue." "Lotus Feet" appeared on Shakti's eponymous debut album released in 1976. Husband's own "Lotus Feet Reflections" was inspired by McLaughlin's original composition from that Shakti album. "Alap" and "Development And Closing" are also Husband original compositions whereas "Earth Bound Hearts" is taken from Where Fortune Smiles.

A Meeting Of Spirits succeeds as an interpretational and at times, impressionistic representation of the music of McLaughlin, the undeniable maestro of jazz. It also serves as a timely reminder of the massive contribution that McLaughlin, now at the venerable age of 75 (although looking a lot younger), has made to music, whilst all the while Husband effortlessly exudes a prodigious talent of his own.

Track Listing: Spirits Opening ; A Meeting Of Spirits; Vision Is A Naked Sword; Are You The One?; Maya Prologue; The Dance Of Maya; It’s Funny; Lotus Feet Reflections; Celestial Terrestrial Commuters; Jazz Jungle (Excerpt); Joyful; Song For My Mother; Alap; Lotus Feet (Reprise); Earth Bound Hearts; Development And Closing.

Personnel: Gary Husband: piano, in-piano percussion, voice, bell.

Title: A Meeting Of Spirits | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Edition Records

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