Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gary Husband Comes Through with "Dirty and Beautiful, Volume 1"

Gary Husband has impressed me in the past as a dynamically lively and exciting drummer and a musical mind as tunesmith, keyboardist and all-around positive force in the universe. Some of Allan Holdsworth's albums made with Gary are of the very best sort, and Gary's doing good things as keyboardist and drummer with John McLaughlin's new group (see earlier posting for a discussion of the latest album).

That's all true, but what of his new solo album, Dirty and Beautiful, Volume One (Abstract Logic 027)? The answer is, "Wheeew, yeah!"

This is one of those albums whose personnel alone is something you can't help but take note of in anticipation. There's both Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin, which is saying much; then Steve Hackett and Robin Trower; then there are the old Mahavishnu heavyweights Jan Hammer and Steve Goodman. There are other significant cats too. Does the music live up to the promise of who is involved? In every way it does.

Gary has put together a program of solid originals plus a brief look at a Miles Davis perennial and an engaging Allan Holdsworth piece. They all have melodic substance and serve as excellent platforms for some eloquent songbirds to gather and achieve ensemble and solo excellence. This is good rocking fusion the way you might anticipate it but with the Gary Husband flair for subtle sophistication. Allan Holdsworth sounds like you expect him to, beautiful tone and line as always. John McLaughlin lets out with a couple of solos that are some of the best I've heard from him in a long time, showing rock-crank-velocity and gritty tone. The other Mahavishnus (Goodman and Hammer) make appearances that show you they have not lost a thing, and, well, everybody else makes good contributions.

It's the cumulative effect of the Husband smart-fusion way that makes this album a thrilling experience, if you love fusion. This is what fusion is and still can be, a real art form. I can't recommend this highly enough!

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