Paws

Paws

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An argument could be made that nobody plays music together with a tighter feel than siblings. The Paws group was a duet featuring brothers David Licht and Dennis Licht, who also collaborated on a salsa band during this period as well as playing with a variety of other bands around North Carolina. Based out of Greensboro, Paws performed fairly regularly, with diminishing returns in terms of audience. The legendary horror with which audiences face the prospect of percussion-only events -- other than the phenomenon of drum circles where everyone gets to bang around -- meant that it was hard for Paws to even meet the basic criteria of a successful gig (i.e., to have more people in the audience than on-stage). The Licht brothers were living together during this era and practicing on a daily basis. Much of the music here presents them skillfully probing at various traditional rhythmic structures from Latin and African music. While a variety of drums are utilized and recorded quite well, one highlight that is a strong demonstration of the brothers' sympathetic energy is "Flesh in 5," in which the music is created totally with their hands, or paws, and no drums at all. Some free improvisation is also featured, perhaps so that followers of this largely avant-garde label wouldn't get confused. The Licht brothers also shine in this capacity, although they hardly get as far out as Paul Lovens and Paul Lytton in their famous duo. Sadly, Dennis Licht was one of two brothers from this family who died young due to the emotional and physical complications of schizophrenia. One of the conga drums used on this recording was buried with him. While basically greeted with indifference at the time of its initial release, the sole album by Paws has demonstrated staying power and has shown up on several critical lists of neglected recordings. Listeners who enjoy percussion will certainly dig it.

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