Multitalented drummer, keyboardist, composer, and arranger Gary Husband continues to raise the bar with each successive release, and 2012's Dirty & Beautiful Volume 2 is no exception. Volume 2's collection of originals and fusion classics follows Dirty & Beautiful Volume 1 (Abstract Logix, 2010), featuring many of the same collaborators, but with some additional powerhouse guitarists rounding out this heady lineup.
Of particular interest is the appearance of young Grammy-nominated guitarist Alex Machacek, who contributes his original "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Brothers" to an already potent group of tunes. Tears for Fears' Neil Taylor contributes some deliciously blues-inflected guitar work on keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Rain," backed by Husband's own exquisite keyboards and rich drumming. John McLaughlin is teamed with Level 42's Mark King on Husband's "Sulley," his inimitable slap bass juxtaposing with the guitarist for a really fun extended musical romp.
Allan Holdsworth's Tony Williams' New Lifetime classic "Fred" takes on new life as "Fred 2011," with the guitarist's prowess at the helm of a group also including Hammer, bassist Jimmy Johnson and Husband, on drums. Husband also revisits his own "England Green," previously featured on 1999's Diary of a Plastic Box (reissued Angel Air, 2008), with guitarist Jimmy Herring creating a gorgeous musical canvas on this heart-rending version. The same is true of Husband's "Fuguie," a solo keyboard outing that evokes both the ethereal and the emotional.
Dirty and Beautiful Volume 2 ends on as powerful a note as it began, with guitarist Robin Trower on trumpeter Miles Davis' "YesternowEpilogue." The cast alone on this release is worth the listen, but the compositions capture the ear and the heart.
Track Listing: If Animals Had Guns Too; Rolling Sevens; New Blues, Old Bruise; East River Jam; Fred 2011; Rain; Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Brothers; Fugie; Sulley; England Green; Yesternow--Epilogue.
Personnel: Gary Husband: keyboards (1-4, 6, 8-11), drums (1-7, 9-11), percussion (2); Ray Russell: guitar (1); Jimmy Johnson: bass (1, 4); Mike Stern: guitar (2); Teymur Phell: bass (2); Sean Freeman: tenor saxophone (3); Wayne Krantz: guitar (4); Allan Holdsworth: guitar (5); Jan Hammer: keyboards (5); Neil Taylor: guitar (6); Alex Machacek: guitar (7), programming (7); John McLaughlin: guitar (9); Mark King: bass (9); Jimmy Herring: guitar (10); Laurence Cottle: bass (10); Robin Trower: guitar (11); Livingstone Brown: bass (11).