376

Gary Husband: A Meeting of Spirits: Interpretations of the Music of John McLaughlin

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Gary Husband: A Meeting of Spirits: Interpretations of the Music of John McLaughlin As a followup to his remarkable The Things I See: Interpretations of the Music of Allan Holdsworth (Angel Air, 2001), veteran drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband tackles another guitar legend on A Meeting of Spirits. Both records are wonderful solo piano tributes to their sources' distinctive compositional skills and harmonic innovations. But Husband's latest effort takes the concept of homage a step further by including original compositions that live in McLaughlin's universe, but continue to define his own personal sphere as well.

Appreciated for many years as a drummer but long undervalued as a pianist/keyboardist, Husband's multifaceted talent has come into a more balanced view over the past couple of years. On McLaughlin's Industrial Zen (Universal, 2006), the iconic guitarist enlisted Husband in both capacities. While his ensemble record Aspire (Jazzizit, 2004) provided evidence that Husband's purview extends well beyond the fusion arena where he's best known, his solo piano records are his most personal, and consequently most intimately revealing.

Spanning material including "It's Funny," from McLaughlin's auspicious debut Extrapolation (Polydor, 1969), to "Jazz Jungle," from The Promise (Verve, 1995), Husband's approach to McLaughlin's music is far from literal. It's often difficult to recognize McLaughlin's compositions, and even when they are discernable, they've been harmonically refashioned. Husband's take on the Mahavishnu Orchestra's up-tempo "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" layers its familiar theme over slightly skewed chords, using the piano body as a percussion instrument as his solo picks up steam.

Husband's continues to dig deep into the Mahavishnu Orchestra repertoire, with his own "Maya Prologue" a darkly impressionistic intro that leads into the bluesy and irregularly metered "The Dance of the Maya." The mix makes a distinctive split towards the end, as each contrasting yet integrated theme takes its own channel. Husband also cleverly combines the more tranquil "You Know, You Know" and the funkier "Miles Beyond" with an abstruse "Are You The One?," from Electric Guitarist (Legacy Recordings, 1979).

Elsewhere the references become more obscure. "Vision is a Naked Sword" is a haunting, Satie-esque tone poem, but it retains the Mahavishnu Orchestra version's sense of foreboding. The raw free jazz chops of "Earth Bound Hearts," from Where Fortune Smiles (Dawn, 1970), are replaced by Husband's sparer lyricism.

What's most remarkable is how Husband's own pieces mesh with McLaughlin's, creating a common ground that reflects of a deeper understanding of McLaughlin's vast vernacular, along with Husband's own evolving language and virtuosic pianism. McLaughlin has never sounded so dark, so abstract or so contextually unfettered. But equally, Husband finds the line that threads through McLaughlin's stylistically diverse career, making A Meeting of Spirits an innovative tribute that's reverential but always speaks with its own voice.


Track Listing: Spirits Opening; A Meeting of Spirits; It's Funny; Lotus Feet Reflections; Celestial Terrestrial Commuters; Lotus Feet (Reprise); Earth Bound Hearts; Development and Closing; Jazz Jungle (Excerpt); Maya Prologue; The Dance of the Maya; Alap; Are You the One?; Vision is a Naked Sword; Joyful; Song for My Mother.

Personnel: Gary Husband: piano.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Alternity Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Beginning of A Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Beginning of A Memory
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "Floa" CD/LP/Track Review Floa
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "windS" CD/LP/Track Review windS
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "At This Time..." CD/LP/Track Review At This Time...
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!