Billy Martin's side projects have outnumbered his records with his best-known project, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and many of them have involved a fellow drummer, ex-Lounge Lizards percussionist Grant Calvin Weston. Live at Houston Hall is a recording of a 2002 duo performance in Philadelphia: a pair of drummers playing off of each other on trap kits, hand percussion, bells, gongs, whistles, and all manner of other noisemakers. As is usual with Martin, the groove remains paramount through most of this set of eight improvised pieces, with only occasional detours into free jazz-style atonal freak-outs. If the idea of eight lengthy percussion-only jams sounds absolutely unbearable, Live at Houston Hall will not do anything to change your mind. Those who collect Grateful Dead live boots solely for the drum duets, however, will find much to appreciate here.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason