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Drummer and keyboardist Gary Husband follows up Dirty & Beautiful Volume 1 (Abstract Logix, 2010) with a second volume, consummated by a star-studded aggregation of progressive rock, jazz-rock and jazz fusion instrumentalists, most of whom are Abstract Logix recording artists. Husband draws upon disparate frameworks; jazz improvisation, electronica, and other facets seed a fertile underpinning in concert with the musicians' signature styles.
A drummer possessing gargantuan chops, these days Husband has been manning the keyboards for guitarist John McLaughlin's 4th Dimension band. For the uninitiated, Husband is an accomplished keyboardist who interconnects an all-encompassing musical persona via his solo outings. On "Sulley," he sits behind the drum kit, playing with an overlaid keyboard track for a groove-based power trio incursion. The trio lays out an ominous listening space of ethereal atmospherics amidst Mark King's plucking and thumping bass lines. Through a few rhythmic deviations, the band exudes a semi-structured jam vibe.
McLaughlin tears it up with a supersonic solo exposition and trades riffs with Husband's synth patterns. The trio segues into a harrowing 4/4 vamp towards the finale, treated with a touch of Indo-fusion and the guitarist's flickering notes. "Sulley" is one of numerous high points dispersed throughout a top-shelf product that should find its way onto many best-of lists for 2012.
Track Listing: If Animals Had Guns Too; Rolling Sevens; New Blues, Old Bruise; East River Jam; Fred 2011; Rain; Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Brothers; Fugie; Sulley; England Green; Yesternow--Epilogue.
Personnel: Gary Husband: keyboards (1-4, 6, 8-11), drums (1-7, 9-11), percussion (2); Ray Russell: guitar (1); Jimmy Johnson: bass (1, 4); Mike Stern: guitar (2); Teymur Phell: bass (2); Sean Freeman: tenor saxophone (3); Wayne Krantz: guitar (4); Allan Holdsworth: guitar (5); Jan Hammer: keyboards (5); Neil Taylor: guitar (6); Alex Machacek: guitar (7), programming (7); John McLaughlin: guitar (9); Mark King: bass (9); Jimmy Herring: guitar (10); Laurence Cottle: bass (10); Robin Trower: guitar (11); Livingstone Brown: bass (11).
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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