Written on: 30/08/2006 by jfderry (208 reviews written)
Gary Husband's Force Majeure Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Jim Beard keyboards
Matthew Garrison electric bass
Arto Tun boyaciyan percussion and voice
Gary Husband drums and piano
Jerry Goodman violin
Randy Brecker on trumpet
Elliott Mason trombone and bass trumpet
I can't imagine any one of the packed house on this night in London were disappointed by this incredible line-up for Force Majeure's recent UK tour. When you have such quality, you know you're in for a treat. Their roles varied, but each player did what he had to do with such style and aplomb that it is hard to single anyone out. Sure, Husband's multi-instrumentalism, lyrical compositions and self-effacement are a joy, but so are Tun boyaciyan's versatility and imagination, Goodman's stratospheric attack and plucked, McLaughlinesque rapid-fire solo bursts, Garrison's sound cascades, Mason's reliability and Brecker's simple genius for timing. All this you have the entire way through this 2-Disc DVD set (with over 2 hours of concert footage. Total running time approx 3 hours 55 minutes. 75 minutes of bonus audio tracks, interviews, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround/sound/stereo, world-wide multi-format). That you can take for granted, but here are some highlights...
The first disk comprises 3 tributes, Evocations: Of Burt Bacharach, Of Bj rk, Of John McLaughlin. Husband's astonishing duet on piano and cooking pot (yes, that's right, an ordinary, everyday kitchen utensil, transformed under the skilled attention of percussion master Arto Tuncboyaciyan, into a percussive rainbow of slurping, bent, perverse rhythm) at the start to McLaughlin, rife with signatures that would be at home in any Mahavishnu piece, crashing crescendos and Jazz Composers Orchestra-like amalgam, before Garrison takes control, spells out a half-cocked eyebrow thumping bass line, and all settle into the groove.
But on the second disk of this double DVD set is where Husband takes this someplace else, something more than your average contemporary jazz. It is here that he presents a suite, Stone Souls, in 5 parts. Jazz, classics and progressive rock often structure pieces in this way. Herbie Mann (Concerto Grosso in D Blues), John McLaughlin (Trilogy) and pretty much anything by Duke Ellington, are all examples where jazz artists have successfully navigated the compositional problems of resolving a stratified framework with jazz's cyclical tendencies. Husband's compositions are constructed like mini symphonies, building in complexity and rhythmic hue (I was able to count 3/4 at one point while my friend was counting 4/4. now, what is going on there?). Included in the Stone Souls suite are Heart of Things quotes, and an outstanding drums, percussion and piano trio, but Husband's tour de force in this piece is the way he brings us benignly home, coaxing memories of the opening head with his poignant piano playing. Equally fantastic but perhaps less prudently placed is a Tun boyaciyan's beer bottle solo, but it's a minor quibble, and entertaining all the same.
Simply, this has got to be some of the best intellectual and well-played jazz today.
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