“DIRTY & BEAUTIFULVolume 1 [Abstract Logix] is predominantly about guitar,” says celebrated drummer and keyboardist Gary Husband of his latest release, which features five of the world’s leading guitarists: Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Robin Trower, Steve Hackett, and Steve Topping. “In some ways the album represents a return to my jazz-rock roots, while hopefully also creating something with a contemporary sound,” continues Husband. “I work with and love these musicians as people and as artists, though I have mostly played with them in their realms, so I really wanted to see what could happen if I brought them a little more into mine.”
The album opens with Holdsworth’s “Leave ‘Em High,” on which the guitarist trades fiery licks with former Mahavishnu Orchestra keyboardist Jan Hammer. Holdsworth also appears on two other tracks, including Hammer’s “Between the Sheets of Music,” where another Mahavishnu alumnus, violinist Jerry Goodman, joins in. “Allan and I gelled instantly from the moment we started playing together back in London in 1979,” says Husband. “I always felt totally at home playing his unique music, and he was also the first one who truly set me free as a player. It’s because of him and that relationship that I play the way I do.”
McLaughlin’s blistering runs and melodic statements punctuate Husband’s “Dream in Blue,” a composition on which Husband plays both drums and keyboards, as he does in McLaughlin’s band, the 4th Dimension. “I’ve had the great pleasure and honor of working with John for the last six years, and I feel certain that sentiment comes through on this track,” enthuses Husband.
Trower and Husband played together in a trio with legendary bassist Jack Bruce, releasing a studio album and a live DVD. On a cover of Miles Davis’ “Yesternow,” Trower’s wondrous wah work evokes the spirit of Hendrix. “Robin is a dream to play with because everything is so easy,” relates Husband. “Music just falls out of him.”
Superb wah use is also evident on Topping’s “The Maverick,” in both his choppy funk rhythm playing and edgy soloing. “I’ve known Steve since I was 14, and I played on both of his albums,” recalls Husband. “He has an extremely fresh and unique voice on guitar and as a writer. I’ve wanted to cover ‘The Maverick’ for years, and here it is at last.”
Hackett’s soulful melodicism and gorgeous sustained tone grace Husband’s “Moon Song,” one of the quieter pieces on the album. “Steve and I worked together recently on a project, and it was a big wish to have him lend his unmistakable electric guitar style to a ballad for this record,” says the keyboardist and drummer.
“We actually recorded enough material for a second disc,” explains Husband. “Look out for Dirty & Beautiful Volume 2, which will feature Jimmy Herring, Alex Machacek, and more from John, Allan, and Robin. The journey is by no means over!”