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Gary Husband

Gary Husband is one of a rare breed of musicians in that his expression is divided equally in his capacity as a drummer and a keyboardist of international repute. His classical roots, his quest and development in the improvisational, jazz and jazz/fusion areas - not to mention his tenure in the pop, rock and blues circuits - are all evident inside Gary's distinct and far-reaching musical personality. His solo album and DVD output over the last few years has also reinforced his status as a critically acclaimed writer and arranger in the contemporary music world.
Born into a highly musical family in Yorkshire in 1960, Gary Husband lay the foundations of his career in music through the study of classical piano and theory under Fanny Waterman. By the age of 10, he was already broadening his musical scope by taking up the drums and, before he was 16, he had established himself as an exceptionally gifted talent on both instruments, securing a place in the Syd Lawrence Orchestra as their youngest ever drummer.

His early commissions to compose jingles, incidental and them music for BBC and YTV with the guidance and inspiration of his flautist/composer father, the frequent bookings he fulfilled backing established visiting jazz stars in his home town of Leeds, and his freelance spells in the cabaret, television and radio broadcasting circuits backing entertainers such as Lulu, Marion Montgomery and Matt Monro had already provided him with a wealth of professional experience and confidence, prompting an inevitable relocation to London
Gary's initiation into the capital's jazz/rock scene was as drummer with Barbara Thompson's group Paraphernalia, the Jim Mullen/Dick Morrissey Band, Gary Boyle Band and Jeff Clyne's Turning Point. He regularly deputised with the BBC Radio Big Band, Ian Carr's Nucleus, Ronnie Scott's Quintet (on piano) and made frequent appearances with groups such as Mike Carr Trio, Mo Foster and Ray Russell's RMS and the Gil Evans UK Orchestra. This diversity and wide-ranging experience placed Gary in a hugely creative environment in which he started to develop his own unique and distinctive musical voice - one he had been working on many years previously with his childhood friend (guitarist and composer) Steve Topping, but one that he rapidly began to establish himself a firm reputation for following a chance meeting with the revolutionary guitarist Allan Holdsworth - their embarkation on a truly distinct instrumental partnership, and the ground-breaking musical association they have shared ever since.

Throughout the `80s and `90s Gary's typically diverse roster of other touring and recording collaborations included lengthy spells with Billy Cobham, (principally in the capacity of keyboardist but also featured regularly in double-drum duets), Andy Summers Group, (guitarist) Anthony Hindson with L.Shankar and Zakir Hussain, Gary Moore, Gongzilla and Jack Bruce Band, regular forays in the jazz and bebop area with Jim Mullen, Geoff Keezer, Christian McBride, Alan Skidmore, stints and recordings with singer/songwriters such as Ron Sexmith, Jimmy Nail, as well as a five-year tenure with pop giants Level 42 - an association that is still active to this day, and one that has earned him great critical and public acclaim in the international arena. Gary featured as house band drummer in 1989's Prince's Trust Rock Gala backing such stars as Erasure, John Farnham, Alexander O'Neal, Will Downing, Mike & The Mechanics among others, under the musical direction of Sir George Martin, and also frequently took sessions producing his own live drum loops for drum n' bass protagonists such as Dillinger and "Lemon D".

Among his most noteworthy solo projects was the Gary Husband New Trio - a totally contemporary and original take on the more traditional piano-led concept that explored Gary's far-reaching original compositional style with completely new reworkings of jazz standards. The formation recorded two albums. Their debut CD (From The Heart) featured guest performances by Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame and Steve Topping, while the 2003 follow-up (Gary Husband & Friends - Aspire) featured Gary on piano/keyboards, drums, guitar and charango, with guest appearances by Billy Cobham, Mark King, Hamish Stewart and Christine Tobin alongside regular trio-members Gene Calderazzo on drums and bassist Mick Hutton. He also performed two solo concerts as part of the London South Bank Centre's Rhythm Sticks Festival (1995 and 2000), playing drums, piano/keyboards and guitar. His first piano solo album (The Things I See - Interpretations Of The Music Of Allan Holdsworth) received countless accolades and was selected as one of the best albums of the year (2001) by Jazz On 3 (BBC Radio 3), featured in Late Junction (BBC Radio 4), and was chosen as CD of the week upon it's release by The Guardian Newspaper. He released a solo synthesizer album (Diary Of A Plastic Box), completed his first instructional drum video (Interplay And Improvisation On The Drums), and has conducted co-headlining drum clinics with Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers and Terry Bozzio. The Gary Husband/Mondesir Brothers Collaboration DVD (To The Power Of Three) was also released in early 2003.

Gary continues to be in great demand for drum clinics and masterclasses worldwide. For more than a decade, he has featured in numerous categories in the top 10 international drummers in Rhythm Magazine's Readers Polls. . In the summer of 2003, Gary was awarded a highly coveted place on the Arts Council of Englans Contemporary Music Network touring scheme to lead a hand-picked ensemble of world-class jazz musicians on a tour across the UK in March 2004. The project, entitled Force Majeure, featured trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Matthew Garrison, keyboardist Jim Beard, trombonist and bass trumpeter Elliot Mason, Mahavishnu legend Jerry Goodman on electric violin, and the Armenian percussionist Arto Tuncboyaciyan. Gary composed, arranged and directed the band from the drum kit and piano, presenting a series of "evocation" compositions inspired by musical pioneers such as Björk, Burt Bacharach and John McLaughlin, and the premiere performance of his BBC Radio 3 commissioned suite (Stone Souls.) To coincide with the release of the 2-disk 5.1 Surround DVD package Gary Husbans Force Majeure - Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, the ensemble returned to the UK in March 2005 for a further series of concerts which included a wildly received, sell-out week`s residency at London`s Ronnie Scott`s club.

Gary continues also to devote a portion of his time to other artists' projects, new genre-defying collaborations and educational programmes, including a series of master classes at London`s Royal Academy of Music. Most recently Gary has been found joining forces with keyboardist and composer Aydin Esen, bassist Jonas Hellborg, Django Bates and his group Human Chain, Jeff Beck, UK guitarist Ray Russell (recording), L.A. drummer/composer Jason Smith with bassist Dave Carpenter (recording).
In March 2005, he was among four British musicians nominated for Musician of the Year for the prestigious Parliamentary Jazz Awards. He has been recently working in live performance with legendary guitarist John McLaughlin with a view to recording later in the year, as well as a number of compositional projects for film.


Like the 1970s bands Return to Forever and Weather Report, Husband's outfit successfully merges European and jazz influences and emotions. It really captures the lament of a war-torn, modernist Europe ... Husband, who plays acoustic piano and drums, also has to conduct and ended up scampering round the stage with an unselfconscious enthusiasm. Financial Times - 3 March 2005

Husbans sketches showed how to orchestrate for maximum impact without saxophones or guitar, but raw power was only part of the group's colourful agenda. It was absorbing music, as wild and unpredictable as the weather. Evening Standard - 1 March 2005

The Contemporary Music Network, which organised this tour, and BBC Radio 3, who commissioned the music, can also take a bow. It is one thing to hand taxpayers' money to established stars, quite another to risk it on an artist of untapped potential. Husband has repaid that faith. The quality of his writing, and his all-stars' inspired response to it, produced a performance that ranks among the year's best. Evening Standard - 5 March 2004

Propelling the ensemble to flights of rhythmic and harmonic ecstacy from his drum kit, touching us with some searching chords from his beloved piano or directing events from the front of the stage, Husband was always at the very heart of the music. It was a powerful and passionate performance from one of the major forces in contemporary music today. Jazz UK - May/June 2004

With a wealth of ideas, Husband never rushes to get from point A to point B, rather, he lets the music breathe, even when its complexion is more challenging. But as much as Husbans writing is the centrepiece of the event, this is a show that's equally about ensemble interaction and interplay. Husband clearly wrote his pieces for these distinctive musical personalities in mind. As structured as Husbans pieces can be, there's a sense of improvisational adventure that clearly delineates what he does as jazz, albeit a kind that's modern, and less directly-associated with more traditional forms. All About Jazz - April 2005

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