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Richie Barshay: Homework (2007)

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Richie Barshay: Homework How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

There is a bit more than a hint of Indian drumming in "Clouds - intro," the somewhat airy invitational cut on Homework, from percussionist Richie Barshay. It doesn't prepare for the sonic onslaught that follows. From the sound of this offering, Barshay has been studying Indian percussive forms and instruments that are the foundation to this truly global session.

Although the Indian feel is pronounced throughout—Josh Feinberg's sitar reemphasizes this on a heady "Return Voyage" that includes wonderful cross-timbre harmony with Daniel Blake's sax— this is not simple Indian/jazz fusion. Barshay brings a great deal more than his tabla to this international table that also serves up Latin, jazz and bop chops, klezmer as well as Herbie Hancock himself, who is most noteworthy on the extraordinary title cut that blends tabla with a catchy rhythm set up by Jorge Roeder's bass. Hancock, on piano and keyboards, gloriously funkasizes the piece 1970s-style in signature fashion.

Blake, playing both tenor and soprano, along with Roeder take their cues from the repetitive rhythmical patterns set up by Barshay and congaist Reinaldo de Jesus. They mirror and improvise off of these patterns that can reappear between or as part of other cuts. Such is the case for the catchy "Peacock"—Blake using his soprano to coax the bird a bit 'out' without missing the always present upfront beat—and the melodic percussive/bass duet "No U Don't." Monk's "Trinkle Tinkle" becomes a tabla/sax duet while clarinetist Michael Winograd, vocalist Aoife O'Donovan and accordionist Carmen Staaf hop on board for a klezmer-meets-India sendup of the Jewish standard "Sim Shalom—Prayer for Peace." A live extended percussive solo that marries traditional jazz traps with Indian percussion brings things to a fitting close.

Track Listing: Clouds - intro; Homework; Peacock; Return Voyage; Trinkle Tinkle; Rucutucupla - Interlude; Clouds; The Last Gasp; No U Don't; Sim Shalom/Prayer for Peace; Rucutucupla; Exhale; Solo Live.

Personnel: Richie Barshay: drum set, tabla, congas, cajon, kanjira, shekere, shakers; Daniel Blake: tenor and soprano saxophones; Jorge Roeder: acoustic and electric basses; Herbie Hancock: piano (1, 2, 7), keyboard (2); Reinaldo de Jesus: congas, djembe, bell (3, 6, 11); Aoife O'Donovan: voice (10); Michael Winograd: clarinet (10); Carmen Staaf: accordion (10); Josh Feinberg, sitar (4).

Record Label: Ayva Musica

Style: Latin/World


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