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.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more