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Gary Husband & Markus Reuter — Music of Our Times
(Moonjune MJR101, 2020, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-05-02
This is a very unusual Moonjune release, an exploration of ambient sounds and moods instead of the usual jazz idiom, although the way it came about was entirely by chance. The Stick Men (with Gary Husband on keyboards in tow) were scheduled to tour Japan and China, but after only one show in Nagoya at the Blue Note in March 2020, the tour was abruptly cancelled due to the Covid pandemic outbreak. As a “plan B”, a block of studio time was booked for Husband and Reuter before their return flights. The six tracks that resulted are warm and beautiful improvisations, full of flowing emotion and cathartic invention, Husband performing on grand piano, with Reuter complimenting him on touch guitars and live electronics. In the past I have always thought of Gary Husband primarily as a drummer, with keyboards as an alternate occupation, but the pieces here truly display the depth of his astonishing musical abilities on piano, with Reuter carefully following his lead, adding rich textures and subtle power. There is no percussion (except for the piano itself) or any other instruments at hand, and the duo’s music is intentionally ambient, with the full power of the studio, yet there is hardly a moment where something magical isn’t happening, and of the six tracks at hand, the two players are following a restless path through six different forests, noting all of the subtle beauty and wild emotive energy as every moment passes. “White Horses (for Allan)” is a moving tribute to the late Allan Holdsworth, while “Colour of Sorrow” and “Across the Azure Blue” certainly live up to their titles, as does “A Veiled Path.” The album’s closer, “Illuminated Heart,” seems to follow a purposeful and calculated motion, Husband leading with Reuter punctuating along its nine minute duration. While the initial effect on the listener's psyche may be potently relaxing, it reveals its crisp beauty over multiple listens, something one could listen to for hours on end.
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