Five Men in a Hut is basically the final roundup for Gomez's Hut/Virgin years, but it's a positive boon for fans, especially in the U.S. In the U.K., each Gomez album had at least a few associated singles, but they never got the same treatment stateside. Since each album had a certain specific "sound" to it, one can see how some of these songs wouldn't have fit with the album they were recorded with, but the B-sides were hardly throwaways. In fact, the B-sides were often excellent and allowed the band to try different things and stretch out a bit. Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline gathered a few of these tracks, but more than half of Five Men in a Hut is comprised of B-sides (and two previously unreleased tunes) so ultimately all the A's and B's of many of these singles are now readily available.
Upon first listening to this album, it's hard to imagine that many if any listeners would think that it was a premiere recording for the artist, or that the artist in question was all of 17 years of age when it was made. Argentinean pianist Adriel Gomez-Mansur's choice of repertoire does not focus on the flashy, the ostentatious, or the bravura as one might expect. Rather, many of his selections, such as the Liszt Consolation No. 3 and Schumann Traumerei, are from the more introspective and serene portion of the repertoire. In these works, Gomez-Mansur demonstrates a musical maturity and depth well beyond his young years at the time of recording.
Colombian singer/songwriter Marta Gomez is a wonderful, enigmatic talent. Her voice has the lulling softness that evokes Brazil's female vocal icons, yet there's a depth to her writing that goes far beneath the surface. She's also something of an expert on Latin rhythms – there are 13 different ones on this disc, all of them rooted in different cultures, from Colombian bambuco to Argentine chamame. But everything is so perfectly put together that you forget the academic side, pulled along by the music and voice. Recorded over just three days, it's a small masterwork. It doesn't matter if you don't understand Spanish, as Gomez evokes delicate moods in her work, each piece beautifully arranged and shaded…
On If Summer Had Its Ghosts, a primarily acoustic trio recording, drummer Bill Bruford, bassist Eddie Gómez, and pianist/guitarist Ralph Towner create some lush, wondrous, spontaneous and melodic music. It has jazz roots, improvisational branches, and elfin extensions. There's no gimmickry or pretension, although Bruford does add some sampled colors, and Towner overdubs his instruments as well as throwing in a pinch of electronic keyboards. What you basically hear is Bruford's newest and freshest music, interpreted and extrapolated upon by three virtuosos in mellifluous interactive conversation. At their most swinging, as on the lively, four/four, tick-tock, light rimshot, mid-tempo swing of the title track, they are telepathic, with Towner effortlessly switching from acoustic 12-string to piano and Gómez laying down soulful, full, deep bass punctuations.