(Janek Gwizdala/Gary Husband – The Hideaway, Streatham, Monday 13 November, 2011. Part of LJF11. Review by Dr. Richard Niles)
Bassist Janek Gwizdala is an exciting and innovative talent, and Monday at the Hideaway in Streatham was a night to remember.
Gwizdala shared the stage with three other virtuoso musicians who joined with him in pushing the creative boundaries of contemporary jazz, melody and groove. Duncan Eagles, a new artist to me, played a searching tenor saxophone with a lyrical fire that perfectly complimented the adventurous play going on around him. Louie Palmer on drums transported the audience to polyrhythmic funk heaven, his metallic Gretsch snare like the crack of doom.
Gary Husband’s performance on piano and synth defies description. Although he is one of the world’s most respected drummers, when he touches the piano he achieves a magic that is way beyond mere musicianship. His solo (the band laid out) on Janek’s beautiful tune “Bethany” received an ear shattering ovation. Gwizdala said afterwards, “Gary showed me what I SHOULD have written!” Husband plays with a humanity that transcends his instrument. Instead of notes, the audience is hearing his thoughts, his dreams and his deepest loves. Gary Husband is a national treasure and he deserves far more recognition for his contribution to the artform.
Gwizdala himself was a powerhouse of melodic invention, virtuosity and deep groove. His melodic compositions, deceptive in their simplicity, are designed to allow his talented partners utter freedom. On stage with a smile as wide as Texas he said, “It’s so great to play with musicians who are constantly amazing me with their willingness to take chances and explore the possibilities of the tunes without being afraid of making mistakes.”
After the show I asked Gwizdala why he feels audiences react so strongly to his performances. “I hope that it’s because I’m honest in what I do. Just being a bass player or bandleader and getting people to listen is not enough. I put an equal amount of time, if not more, into connecting with my fan base and listening to them.”