Drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband is a familiar name to jazz-rock and jazz-fusion aficionados, given his work with guitar gods, Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin among many others of note. He’s also performed with Gongzilla and supported bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce and guitarist Robin Trower on the superfine 2008 blues-shaded rock release titled Seven Moons, as the list goes on.
This 2009 effort communicates yet another side of Husband’s musicality as he veers into the progressive-jazz idiom with his hotwired and supercharged quartet. It’s a buoyant and thoroughly hip program sparked by the leader’s dynamic drumming, and the band’s pop and sizzle. Here, the artists use space as an added instrument where the hornists’ are afforded gobs of room to expand themes.
They zip through complex jazz charts like a bullet train reaching top speeds, but also show nuance amid pastoral charts on "Heaven In My Hands," as Husband overlays soft piano voicings to complement a drifting melody line. Then the quartet opens it up with a bustling groove. At times, the musicians skirt the free jazz zone, due to simmering exchanges and ascending motifs, culminated by trumpeter Richard Turner and saxophonist Julian Siegel’s punchy unison choruses.
Husband drops a few bombs along the way and serves as an accelerator throughout. The ensemble transmits a many-sided stance, consisting of brisk bop movements, warm balladry and rebel rousing exchanges. One of the many highlights is the artists’ peppery, loose-groove jazz waltz of saxophonist Paul Desmond’s classic "Take 5," which of course remains the signature work of the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
In effect, Husband and his band-mates pull out the proverbial stops with jazz music that is exciting and suspenseful. It’s full speed ahead with a few sojourns into overdrive. They back it all up with energized performances and a focused mode of attack.