Bago

Tambour Battant

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Bago, the renowned percussionist from Martinique, has produced a very spirited album that features many musical styles. The styles all revolve around traditional Martinique rhythms that have been modernized and that are all underpinned by the tambour, the drum that is held between one's legs while resting on the ground. The instrumentation of horns, keyboards, flute, and accordion are all very tight and weave a tapestry that is both colorful and sprightly. This album came out at the same time as Dede Saint-Prix's excellent Chouval Bwa Sans Frontieres, which overshadowed it somewhat. However, Tambour Battant swings with equal strength and power. The song selection is varied and avoids any repetitious pitfalls. "Bomba Misisien" has a Cuban feel to it and works the groove sufficiently deep. "Uranie" is a jazzy Antillean percussion-laden track with lucid harmonica, accordion, and piano solos. Bago has played with a great many Antillean artists and is one of the percussionists of choice on many recordings. His seemingly tireless energy on the drum takes the listener to some very enjoyable hypnotic heights. A master drummer who deserves a wider recognition beyond the Antilles. Highly recommended.

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