Various Artists

Percussion Summit

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The title is a bit misleading here in that many of the participants in the percussion summit are not percussionists. Some are world jazz artists such as Polish vocalist Urszula Dudziak, South African bassist Johnny Dyani, saxophonist and French horn virtuoso John Purcell, and traditional Indian vocalist R.A. Rama Mani. The rest include drummer and marimba ace Ed Thigpen, Gunter Sommer, Joe Koinzer, the legendary Freddie Santiago, Turkey's okay Temiz, and three Indian percussionists -- T.A.S. Mani, R.A. Rajagopal, and T.N. Shashikumar. This is one of the most experimental and successful summit record ever issued by Moers because the traditions these musicians come from are relied upon heavily, and as a result of exposure to the others, is expanded. There are five compositions here. Four of them are by Westerners who include Koinzer and Michael Urbaniak, but the single most important work here is the one that opens the record, "Shiva Ranjini" by R.A. Rama Mami. In it she uses the various Indian drums and her own vocal stylings that come from the Karnatic school of South Indian music and very much resemble the tonal and vocal styles employed in Qwaali music from the Persian empire. Here Indian scalar considerations open a doorway to more conventional tonalities in the West and are bridged by the vocalists. Purcell's solo on the saxophone and the interweaving of the drummers creates a mesh, a screen for traditional elements from all musical styles to make their way into and speak from, while making the whole a larger weave of deep rhythmic invention. With Dudziak and Rama Mani trading places in the vocal chair and bridging all of the instruments, it is a sublime meditation on interconnectedness and harmonic expansion.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
3 6:34
blue highlight denotes track pick