Milford Graves

Grand Unification

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Milford Graves was one of the greatest free jazz percussionists of the '60s, mastering the traps, conga, and tabla to create a multiethnic firestorm of rhythm. He has essentially not recorded for years, making sporadic appearances on the albums of other jazz artists while making almost no recordings of his own. The very fact that he has a new album on the Tzadik label is, therefore, exciting. Fans of Graves from the '60s will be pleased to note that this is a collection of work that picks up right where he left off. Others may find it a little bit of a relic in its frenzied and jazz stylings. Regardless, the record is a tight, technical masterpiece played with passion. Combining a variety of African, Asian, and Western drums with rhythmic chanting, Graves provides all of the instrumentation on the album and creates something rare: unaccompanied jazz percussion that shows variety and consistent energy throughout a nearly hour-long album.

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