Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband — Tor & Vale
(Moonjune MJR098, 2019, CD / 2LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-12-05
Mark Wingfield and Gary Husband are two musicians we’ve encountered before in a fairly wide variety of settings. Wingfield is on a number of releases on Moonjune in various configurations with bassists, drummers, and keyboardists, and has also worked with Kevin Kastning on a number of improvised sessions. Husband has an extensive resumé as a jazz drummer with John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Gongzilla, and many more, but has also distinguished himself as a keyboard player, with a pair of solo piano albums and many guest slots in this role. Tor & Vale features five pieces written by Wingfield and three improvised pieces, for well over an hour of music, and a listener could easily be forgiven for not being able to tell which tracks are composed and which are spontaneous. The free flow of ideas sounds very natural — these two are definitely on the same wavelength. Wingfield limits himself to single-note lines, leaving the chordal richness to Husband, a wise choice given the circumstances, though it’s also true that this kind of playing is squarely within Wingfield’s normal style. His distinctive tone and way of bending notes set him apart from other guitarists, along with the seamless way he goes from long notes with mangled tones to quick runs of picked notes. Husband’s piano is fluid, impressionistic, and melodic, seldom dipping into dissonance, and resembles modern classical music more than jazz or rock. Tor & Vale is beautiful without being cloying, and meditative without being somnolent. Given its length, the album might be a bit overwhelming in a single sitting, but luckily all the tracks are equally good and work individually. This is a unique recording that reveals new facets on each new listen, and should stand the test of time.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more