Gary Husband and Alex Machacek – Now (2013)

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This is something surprising, indeed: An evocative, quietly communicative exploration on guitar and piano from a pair of typically quick-witted post-fusion instrumental improv talents. I was smitten from the first.

Now — due November 20, 2013 via AbstractLogix — might have gone into any number of intriguing pathways, echoing the journeys that the multi-instrumentalist Gary Husband has been taking more recently (though as a drummer) with John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension or Alex Machacek’s always intriguing guitar asides for the likes of Terry Bozzio and John Wetton.

Instead, Machecek’s opening “Gently” begins as you might expect it to, with that title — like this densely colored leaf turning end over end amid an early autumnal chill. Husband and Machacek intertwine with the delicacy of a lover’s conversation, with just as much opportunity for sparks. But it’s not that kind of recording, as even Husband’s more diligently explorative “Bing of the Vale” shows.

This duo mixes in splashes of classical (Machacek’s “BlaBlaBla”), of folk (Husband’s “Forever and Beyond”), of ambient (Husband’s gorgeous closing “Spring Song”), even perhaps of bluegrass (Husband’s “City Nights”). Of course, before it’s all said and done, they swing a little (Machecek’s “Gaggia” and “Austrian Bluegrass”), and sneak in a little math rock (Husband’s “Cinema Lullaby”), but those moments are precious and few. The focus is on deeply personal themes, sparse but only because every single utterance counts.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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