Andrew Drury: A Momentary Lapse (2003)
Andrew Drury may not be a household name, but he has been playing with several big name NYC-area musicians over the past few years. Once a student of drumming giant Ed Blackwell, Drury has undertaken a variety of playing experiences, including a gig as an Artist-in-Residence with the Oneida Nation. His compositional approach stems from such experiences, as well as the inspiration of his instrument of choice. His structures thrive on forward momentum encouraged by rhythmic patterns that derive from his kit. They also reflect a diverse stylistic range, including jazz, ethnic folk, chamber and free improv horizons.
A Momentary Lapse, his second disc as a leader, features an esteemed assemblage of Downtown musicians, including violinist Eyvind Kang, alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss, tenor saxophonist Chris Speed, pianist Myra Melford, and bassist Mark Dresser. While the focus is certainly aimed at Drury's aforementioned compositional approach, this brilliant collective adds additional depth that leads to sparkling ensemble and individual performances.
The album's opener, "The Schwartzes," thrives on an jumpy, urgent feel that bolsters Krauss' caustic, snake charmeresque lines, after which Melford's bustling piano sets the stage for one last full ensemble free-for-all. In the opposite direction, "Salal" focuses on mood, rather than melody, while "V'xj' Kollektiv" has the group exploring its jazziest side with ethnic tones as well as free improv, all tied up nicely by Melford's dynamic flights. Perhaps the record's most beautiful melodic tones exist on "Copalis" that emphasizes Asian themes with strong statements by both Kang and Melford.
The record's second longest piece, "Some Powerful Women/Why" presents the most diverse landscape, beginning with a classical mode emphasizing skittish, swirling lines that eventually transform into moments of gentleness stirred by Drury's adroit brushwork. Kang and Speed (on clarinet) signal a change of pace with high-pitched, weaving lines that ultimately allow Drury's gongs and cymbals to take center stage. The album closes with the stirring melody of "Keep The Fool," featuring the jarring interplay of Kang, Speed and Krauss and the thunderous drumming of Drury. As a fitting finale, Melford supplies particularly thrilling parting words.
This is a marvelous record featuring high quality compositions performed by some of the finest forward-thinking musicians today. Hopefully, we will hear more from Drury in the future.
Track Listing: The Schwartzes; Salal; V'xj'; Kollektiv; Copalis; Geek's Revenge; Some Powerful Women/Why; Anniversary of a Non-Marriage; Guanajuato; Keep the Fool.
Personnel: Eyvind Kang: Violin; Briggan Krauss: Alto Saxophone, Clarbone; Chris Speed: Tenor Sax, Clarinet; Myra Melford: Piano; Mark Dresser: Bass; Andrew Drury: Drums.