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Gary Husband – ‘Songs of Love & Solace’

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Printed Date: 13 Jul 2024 at 1:25am
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Topic: Gary Husband – ‘Songs of Love & Solace’
Posted By: snobb
Subject: Gary Husband – ‘Songs of Love & Solace’
Date Posted: 20 May 2024 at 5:11am
Gary Husband – Songs of Love & Solace

(BFD 618. Album Review by Patrick Hadfield)

GARY HUSBAND - Songs of Love & Solace cover

Gary Husband is perhaps best known for his work as a sideman, not least in various line ups of John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension. But he’s also released several records of piano music, leading trios and, more rarely, as a solo pianist. It’s that role which he returns to here, on a record which serves to reinforce his presence as solo artist.

Songs of Love & Solace does exactly what it says on the label: it is a collection of love songs, full of romance and yearning.

There is only one composition penned by Husband, ‘The Promise (for Katie Husband)’. It perhaps exemplifies the pianist’s style: slow and contemplative, spacious, but full of understated emotion, too.

Husband arranged all the tunes bar one, a take on McCartney & Lennon’s 1964 hit ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, which was arranged by Husband’s co-producer Richard Niles. Gone is the Beatles’ exuberant high speed passion; in its place is a slow endearing love, a long term romance, perhaps tinged with loss. 

A couple of the tunes were associated with Bill Evans, whose influence is clear on several tracks. Evans’ own composition ‘My Bells’ (which John McLaughlin recorded on his tribute to Evans, Time Remembered) is a beautiful rendition, revelling in Evans’ meditative nature. The same sensibility is evident on Johnny Mandel’s ‘A Time For Love’, which was covered by Evans as well as many others. Perhaps to Mandel’s point, it feels utterly timeless.

It is perhaps telling that Husband’s version of Richard Niles’s own tune, ‘For You’, feels the most contemplative of the collection. It is a tune to get lost in.

Songs of Love & Solace is full of romance, coextisting with sadness. The result is a beautiful record.



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