Various Artists

Mondo Beat: Masters of Percussion, Vol. 2

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In many ways, the sheer idea of a popular drumming compilation sounds at odds with itself. Next to the voice, the drum might be humankind's oldest instrument, but putting it in a context where people who aren't ethnomusicologists want to hear a whole album of it isn't easy. But while several different styles are illustrated here, one that doesn't get mentioned is drum programming, which plays an important part on several tracks -- a slight irony, perhaps. However, if you look at it as a compilation of drumming in its widest sense, this works, ranging from the tribally inflected "Ceremony of Passage" to the Celtic-Indian mix of the Dhol Foundation, and the surprising experiment of Charlie Watts and Jim Keltner working together on a homage to one of jazz's great drummers, "Kenny Clarke." Given the stylistic variations of the tracks, there's a good flow to the disc and a valid exploration of many percussive styles. And best of all, it makes for some very good, strong listening.

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