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The BBC Radio premiered Gary's composition 'Stone Souls' as performed by Force Majeure on their very first concert date at the Leeds Wardrobe on March 3rd 2004. The first 30 minute suite of music was commissioned by 'Jazz on 3' at the BBC, but the exhilarating London concert performance of the full piece is also featured on the exciting DVD release, "Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall".

VISIT RJS GROOVE for more info...

"...Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall is an amazing work of genius in progress. The improvisation and accuracy of every performance is notable throughout each set. On Disc 1 Husband pays homage to his influences in a three-part suite titled "Evocations." Burt Bacharach, Bjork and John McLaughlin are the recipients of his respect, dictated in the most beautiful of musical representations. The second set is brilliant as well featuring seven original compositions by Husband. Husband is a whirling dervish on stage jumping from his drums to the piano then to the front of the stage to conduct the brass section all in one composition..." read the whole review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Read another great review about the Force Majeure DVD at All About Jazz

Official Gary Husband site

- MAY 28, 2004

What is the vision behind Force Majeure?

The vision materialised out of a lot of loving coaxing from my partner, Troo, who single-handedly inspired me to follow a dream I'd had - all about putting together a particular kind of idea of an instrumentation together, consisting of people I'd very much like to work with, writing for it and making a solid proposal to the Contemporary Music Network for the consideration of their panel. The CMN, by the way, is a quite marvellous association acting within the English Arts Council who dedicate themselves to the funding, promotion and exposure of important contemporary ideas and events - ones that quite simply would otherwise immediately most likely either sink without trace in the commercial arena, or remain nothing but a dream in the heart of the artist. My idea was to present a series of compositions that "evoked" three artists who I have considered especially important and personally influential. I chose Burt Bacharach, who I feel pioneered, very much in his own way, a song writing approach that I truly believe kind of got one over on the public(!) A little in the same way as a Jobim, he phrased material, musically speaking, that would simply stop, and close when something had been said - almost always, in this way, refusing to adhere so-called song form "acceptability". I chose Bjork, who I consider a totally prodigious, unique, enigmatic and searching artist, and lastly I chose the legendary jagged-edged protagonist John McLaughlin - one of my perennial and original inspirations. Also around this time, I had been lucky enough to be offered a commission from BBC Radio 3 "Jazz On 3" specifically to write, for the second half of the original concert tour, a long, suite-like piece in five parts, which I entitled Stone Souls. It was directly inspired by my love of buildings and architecture - past, present, demolished or not yet built. One thing I felt tremendously happy about was the diversity of the attending audiences. There were musicians, (obviously) but, in addition, there were a lot of very much younger people, involved in programming and so forth they were really digging it. I mean, it has a lot of allusions to hip 70s jazz/rock rhythm section stuff, not unlike what people like Squarepusher have been doing. A lot of that, with (hopefully) some harmony, texture and form people will hear as interesting. All of this material is featured on the DVD "Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall" which is coming out this summer by RSJGroove Productions.

What is the writing all about with Force Majeure?

Principally, it's the pursuance of something musically stirring - an endeavour to present to people who want to have a musical experience something that is altogether adventurous, emotive, stimulating and exhilarating. In simpler terms, I guess my goal always is to forever strive closer to achieving something people will remember and carry away with them for a long time. Rather like experiencing a strong movie that has really affected you, and you walk out of this theatre with such a strong essence - something that has really carried over and permeated inside you. I mean, I really chase what has happened to me - the things that have made me profoundly react, and the essence of that said thing still lingering in me. I draw from all that, and from there, I really just try and reach, dream and imagine, in terms of structure, harmony, form, and the way I guess I will plot certain musical events and make this blueprint of how things can unfold and materialise in order to achieve the desired effect. You know, there is this theory I hold, that musicians "play, or write, like they are". It really holds true to me, and since I'm kind of an emotional roller coaster man I'm usually writing at my best through some kind of trauma or suffering. Towards the end section of the piece [Evocations Of] Burt Bacharach, for example, I was sitting there, and for whatever reason that day I was experiencing this immense feeling of loss inside - really feeling the sorrow in life quite profoundly, and this really quite achingly sad little unison brass motif came up out of it. I kept it, as actually I found it very evocative of Bacharach, and the way he often uses these sort of "clipped" trumpet phrases around things in his songs. There's a sad little effect to them.


To use the same piece as an overall example, the music for Force Majeure I feel presents an accumulation of the most significant and important musical inspirations and influences I've had - from Mahavishnu, the overdrive and drama of Stan Kenton, the combined harmonic influence of people like Gil Evans, Oliver Nelson through to composers such as Stravinski, Michael Tippet (to name only two!) I also recognise having been strongly affected by the writing over many years of two people I've made my most significant development as a drummer with; Allan Holdsworth and Steve Topping. I was also very particularly affected by the angular and quirky qualities inherent in the way Tony Williams wrote. Such an under-sung visionary in my opinion, especially in those early days of Lifetime. There are countless others. Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. There's a LOT of pop music there. The charm of the absolute simplest things when they really work properly. The film composer Thomas Newman. Certain "ambient" type things I chase. Nursery rhymes too - some of the better ones. There's a myriad of diverse influences and little pointers you can find in my music. Fundamentally, and essentially though, it's about me, and this mystical compulsion we/I have to want to touch people.

How did you put the band together?

I kept the windows of my heart and imagination firmly open - 24/7!! I waited for the formation to occur to me first, and when it did I opened all those windows again and waited to discover who these specific instrumentalists would inevitably have to be. A couple of the initial realisations I had were, firstly, to avoid specifically saxophone and guitar, and secondly, that I very much wanted violin. There is only one Jerry Goodman. Some decisions are sublimely easy to make in life! From there, while acknowledging I wanted something, somewhere in the middle of being between a big band and a smaller electric group, I thought of trumpet and trombone. My girl, Troo, loves trombone. Together, from a cassette a friend of mine gave me we discovered Elliot Mason - an intense, driven, angular soloist, equally adept on the bass trumpet. Randy Brecker I had worked with on a few occasions - touring and recording with Billy Cobham's "Focused" group. He was someone supremely busy(!!), but he's another unique one. You can tell him anywhere, and he's been a favourite of mine for many years anyway. On keyboards, one of the principal, most distinctive artists around today for me is Jim Beard. He's a great "texture man" too. I thought of Matthew Garrison to get the spirit of that old Milesian Michael Henderson vibe, and plus he's such a fantastic, vibrant player to play with for a drummer. Percussionist Arto Tuncboyaciyan I had seen many times with Joe Zawinul - a deep, soulful and intense - dream of a "band participant" overall - and in spite of the fact I hadn't often worked with percussionists I couldn't resist pursuing him, and all the magic he brings to things. It was intuition, the whole thing - that, and chancing my luck on just giving them all a call to see if they would be interested and inspired to go for this with me.


What was the live show like (for the DVD)?

Well, firstly, it's such a beautiful hall - my most wished for venue in London to play. Secondly, Steve Bingle at RSJ Groove had the determination that he was going to film this. Thirdly, the place was crammed full of people sitting there waiting to hear this. Fourthly, that audience was so warmly embracing of all the music. In fifth place, but by no means least, that night was for my father. There was just so much magic flying around that stage and hall that night. It felt like a dream - one of those lovely, flying, warm ones - where time seems somehow suspended but not. I'm delighted it was filmed for DVD, mixed for 5.1 Surround, where, I really felt we captured the spirit of the evening very well. For the product, I also produced a sort of collage of bonus audio selections from some of the other shows - something I couldn't resist doing upon review of the recordings we'd made from each of those five concert dates. Those guys gave it UP for me on that tour!! So proud of all of them.

So where do you see your music going?

Oh! Who knows! I can kind of see how it got to this, through my efforts - "expanding" on things with a trio I had - the "New Trio" - and then again with piano on an album of interpretations I made of themes by Allan Holdsworth. What I realise with the trio experiments in retrospect is that, even though I was arranging a lot of "standards" and things, the music, and how it ended up coming together was a good 70% about me. I'm not going to be shy about this. The same thing with the interpretations album of themes by Allan, "The Things I See" - the music was so "recomposed" if you like, it really was, I feel, generally between 60% and 80% me. All due respect to my brother Allan - to Cole Porter, Antonio Carlos Jobim and many others! In any case, I do feel a personal integrity, when adapting music by others, to bring it to life in a new way - so it lives again - as if only just written! The future, in my heart, involves a lot more for Force Majeure, so look out for us!! I'm not ready to give up on that quite so soon! I love it - and I love playing drums in it! At this time I'm about half way through work on another "interpretations" album, this time dealing with themes by John McLaughlin. It's a piano record again, but at this time, unfortunately the first album I did of Allan's music is all but virtually deleted! It'll be released again at a later date when I find the right way to have it done - but right now, bearing in mind these somewhat precarious times in the record industry it's on the shelf - and subsequently I don't feel a lot of confidence about releasing another one of that type perhaps just yet. I'll do another with my friend Steve Topping hopefully in the near future, and I'm so pleased for him in regard to his current one, "Late Flower". It's very strong.

Why you think imagination in music is so important... especially coming from a drummer's perspective! So few musicians play outside the box today.

Well, I've been disappointed in so much of what I've heard in the realm of this jazz/rock, electric, fusion whatever area for a long time now. There are various movements and elements in particular that spring to mind. One pertains directly to this so-called "shred"/turbo aspect I find myself so commonly aware of within what a lot of people are doing - what people are saying in music of this derivative, and subsequently the knock-on effect which is acting as some kind of blueprint for younger aspiring musicians to start "taking on". It bothers me - for I hear no substance, no voice, hardly anything of any intrinsic musical value - just "switch it on" and switch it off", gratuitous, empty - nothing to remember about it at all.

Allan Holdsworth, Gary, & Jimmy Johnson in Holland 2000

Did somebody forget that we're supposed to be saying something here!? Did somebody forget this is about music!!!!? It is towards this aim!! If not, what is it? I'm hearing a lot of technical accomplishment without any basis. I don't hear anything about these players, as people - their yearning, their bite, their struggle, their reach - their "story". Okay, speed, intensity, volume, overdrive and general pretty extreme dynamics and stuff are all elements I've loved and developed through in my own musical way. I loved hearing the Mahavishnu Orchestra's near impossible sustained energy and intensity - loved the frantic, anarchic expression of it all the way it got sometimes - but these were musicians who were saying something. To me, inside all of that was this huge passionate, raw, emotional musical combined statement. There was love in there too. It'd be screaming at you - but rarely did I find it gratuitous.

The other end of it all is what I imagine was behind Miles Davis' direction at McLaughlin on "In A Silent Way", to "play guitar like you don't know how to play it." This is vision to me. True artistic vision.

Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin

I believe McLaughlin's vision for how intense and dramatic, and yet have the whole thing come down to almost a whisper the next minute for Mahavishnu to be the same. This is what I took from that movement, and I guess applied in my own way to the music of Allan Holdsworth, from the drums. That was my yardstick - the intent. I've been as guilty as anyone else - regularly(!) - for overplaying. My hand is up!! But it was always, always out of passion - something out of a journey in that music and one existing in the moment.

Tony Williams used to describe one of the qualities he liked the most in players was if he felt they were "always on the edge of making a mistake". That says a lot to me. I love that statement. And I guess this is why I am so disappointed. So often. I'm hearing perfect, polished, immaculately pulled off phrases - learned ones - many of which I've heard a great number of times, and just about all of which I never want to hear again!! I want adventure back. Where intelligence meets the heart. Real expression. Invention! Where the science meets the art and motive, and where that motive and impulse gives vent to something real, personal, not contrived or learned, from the heart of the musician that in turn comes out and moves me. That's what I miss a lot. Protagonists working for this cause. Lot of things I'm liking though, too! I've admired Wayne Kranz for a good while. I'm always going to want to listen to people like Dave Liebman, Zakir Hussain - and a lot of Hindustani and Carnatic Indian musicians, Jack DeJohnette, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Topping, Jim Beard. There are still people I consider to be wonderful around. - Gary Husband



By John Pritchard

"His piano playing is one of the best kept secrets in jazz." Billy Cobham

Gary Husband is a total musician's musician. He is one of the best improvisers in the world...on both drums and piano! Having played with some of the world's most innovative artists like Allan Holdsworth, Billy Cobham, Jack Bruce, Gongzilla, Level 42, the Mondesir Brothers, Larry Coryell and even Eddie Van Halen, Gary has grown into becoming an extremely humble and innovative band leader, as well as, an inspiring performer.

Check out the mp3 sample below of Gary's unique style of drumming playing with Allan Holdsworth in 1990 from Allan's "THEN" cd:

PROTO-COSMOS (mp3 sample)

Below is a clip of Gary playing keyboards from his first video "Improvisation and Interplay":

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Here is a clip of heavily featured Gary soloing from the new Level 42 DVD "Live At The Apollo":

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In 2004, Gary continues to expand the spectrum of his musical talents with the phenomenal January release of "The Power of Three" DVD where he spent an afternoon playing with the amazing Mondesir brothers (see below). His highly acclaimed "Force Majeure" project in March (see interview at left) will be released soon as a DVD in full 5.1 surround sound. Gary's long standing friendship with the ever tasty guitarist,
Steve Topping, has him playing drums on Steve's latest album, Late Flower, which was released on June 7th. As if that was not enough, Gary toured Italy in April playing piano with his own band that features drummer extraordinaire, Danny Gottlieb. Gary even appeared on drums for a couple short gigs with jazz fusion master Larry Coryell and bass great, Mark Egan. Not to be forgotten, Gary has also been performing with his chart-topping, 80's pop-funk-rock group, Level 42, during the past year. And there are still many months to go in 2004!

The album that I believe launched Gary into a whole new world of incredible musicianship was the 2001 release of The Things I See - Interpretations of the Music of Allan Holdsworth
It is a superbly inventive piano tribute to Gary's great friend, band leader, and arguably the most original guitarist alive. In high praise of the album, guitar legend John McLaughlin said, "it's been a long time since I heard a new kind of album - this is one of those." And it so happens that one of Gary's current projects is recomposing John McLaughlin's music in a similar piano tribute like he did for Holdsworth.

Needless to say, Gary Husband is on creative fire in the 21st century and we can expect to see much more cutting edge music from this intensely talented artist.


- 4 min
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