Half Notes: Gary Husband – Dirty and Beautiful, Vol. 1 (2010)

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As an in-demand drummer and keyboard player, Gary Husband has gotten to play for some pretty heady names in both rock and fusion: John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, Mike Stern, Robin Trower, Billy Cobham, Gary Moore, Level 42 and Andy Summers have all called on his services at one time or another. For Dirty and Beautiful Volume 1, many of his current or one-time bosses become sidemen for this record. Holdsworth, Trower, McLaughlin, and Mark King of Level 42 all make appearances, as well as Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, Jimmy Herring and Steve Hackett. The presence of Hammer, Goodman and McLaughlin makes this a Billy Cobham short of a full fledged Mahavishnu Orchestra, Mk. I reunion. Husband allows them all to bring their own flavor to the album and conjures up some introspective and souful melodies, making this a pretty good composite for some of the better fusion jazz music of its 1970s heyday. Holdworth’s “Leave ’em On” is a midtempo number sure to please Holdsy fans, but is also enhanced by Hammer’s trademark funky synth lines. Goodman shows he can still rip it up on “Between Sheets Of Music” and McLaughlin’s axe is about as dirty sounding as I’ve heard it in a long time on “Dreams In Blue,” the only track that stretches out to a typical fusion length of ten plus minutes. However, Husband carefully avoids making this an out-and-out blowing session by judiciously mixing in more texturally rich pieces like “Afterglow” and “Moon Song.” Taken as a whole, Dirty and Beautiful Volume 1 is a more enjoyable and listenable album overall than even this year’s offering by McLaughlin, To The One, a record which Husband also participated in. Maybe Gary Husband is at his best leading? We’ll get another indication next spring, when Dirty and Beautiful Volume 2 appears.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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