This duet collaboration between Anthony Coleman and Roy Nathanson has its high points, but fails to produce music of the outstanding quality of Coleman's other projects. Perhaps it is due to the strange coupling of the horn and piano instrumentation (although guitar virtuoso Marc Ribot appears on four tracks) that the album lacks the depth of Coleman's other work. In its defense, I Could've Been a Drum covers a wide range of musical styles, from free jazz to blues to Sephardic, and should be lauded for its diversity. Ribot's contributions are well noted and help to intensify the performance. The album moves from the subdued wandering of "Soprano Ballad" to the confusion of "Ija Mia." The album presents Coleman's more ambitious and exploratory nature, but at times seems to lose focus. This album will satisfy anyone with an interest in the downtown avant scene, but is not Coleman's best effort.
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AllMusic Review by Marc Gilman