A provocative pair of releases from drummer Andrew Drury: Content Provider and The Drum

Hrayr Attarian By

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There is no doubt that Andrew Drury is one of most innovative and bold drummers on the modern music scene. Over a career spanning two decades he has pushed the boundaries of his kit and has also emerged as an adventurous improviser and composer. With two provocative releases on Soup and Sound label Drury exhibits the breadth and depth of his superb artistry.

Andrew Drury
Content Provider
Soup And Sound Recordings

The first, Content Provider is an intensely gripping record of mostly Drury originals that engages from the first notes and does not let the momentum slack until the closing beats. Drury infuses his heady harmonic mix of inventive heads and ingenious spontaneity with various stylistic elements. The opener "Keep The Fool" features Drury's rock influenced thunderous rhythms and guitarist Brandon Seabrook's dark simmering and distorted chords. The taut Drury/Seabrook duet deconstructs the piece into a delightfully dissonant melee of individual sonic ingredients. The dual saxophonists Ingrid Laubrock and Briggan Krauss embellish the theme with fiery honks and wails.

Drury also channels various influences into his cohesive pieces. A brief quote from German composer Richard Strauss' famous tone poem "Also sprach Zarathustra" starts the somber and mystical title track. Out of the wistful, eastern flavored, head emerges Laubrock and Krauss' tense and angular dialogue. Laubrock's vibrant and assertive tenor sublimely complements Krauss' muscular and frenzied alto. The band members' individual, stimulatingly discordant harmonic fragments pierce the silence that follows increasing the tune's dramatic sense.

The cinematic "Ancestors" evolves through various guises all the while maintaining its conceptual unity precisely through Drury's exploration of diverse motifs. Primal drum beats and flittering saxophones lead to a fantastical ambience with oriental hints. A languid, Middle Eastern lyricism permeates the saxophonists' passionate tones that flow over Drury's visceral rumble. Complex, unfettered extemporizations lead to the distinctly western conclusion.

The eerie and futuristic "The Commune Of Brooklyn" on the other hand is a thrillingly noise-filled soundscape that is adorned with melodic threads. Seabrook's haunting, reverberating monologue leads to the solemn and expectantly quiet atmosphere that Drury fills with roaring percussion and clanging bells.

With this intelligent and exciting album Drury proves himself a restlessly inventive musician and an accomplished and democratic bandleader. Content Provider is the rewarding outcome of his artistic boldness and is just another step in his intrepid quest for creative innovation. The second CD The Drum pushes the proverbial envelope even further.

Andrew Drury
The Drum
Soup And Sound Recordings

Solo drum recordings are rare but have a legacy that goes all the way to the dawn of jazz. Take for instance Baby Dodds Talking and Drum Solos (Folkways, 1946). Other notable and more recent examples include Andrew Cyrille's explosive The Loop (Ictus, 1978) and Carol Tristano's symphonic Drum Story (Lifeline, 2003). Expanding on his predecessors' ideas, Drury uses a single floor tom and various other objects to paint singularly hypnotic, often jarring sometimes soothing post-modern desolate landscapes.

Drury beats the drum, blows on it, manipulates it in a myriad of ways and creates stark and evocative scenes like the angst ridden "Hidden Voices" with its dark howling tones. The vibratory and percussive beats of title piece meanwhile make for an expectant and tense improvisation.

On the longer tracks Drury adds a dynamic touch to his spontaneous narratives. "Askew," for instance, evolves with angularity as Drury's sonic experimentations go from brightly resonant to thudding and arcane. Drury's atmospheric performance alternating between thundering rumbles and rolling crisp beats is at times humorous and occasionally solemn. As its name indicates, it is the most off beat tune on this otherwise non-traditional disc.

Elsewhere on the contemplative and melancholic "Thesis/Antithesis" the sounds Drury coaxes out his drum waver between somber full timbers and beseeching, shrill wails.

The Drum does not make for an easy listening experience. It is even a tad self-indulgent. There is no question, however, that it is an ingenious work that highlights Drury's fertile imagination, audacious musicianship and unparalleled virtuosity.

Tracks and Personnel

Content Provider

Tracks: Keep the Fool; El Sol; Content Provider; Ancestors Friends Heroes; The Commune of Brooklyn; Daahoud; The Band is a Drum Set.

Personnel: Andrew Drury: drum set, composer; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone; Ingrid Laubrock: tenor saxophone; Brandon Seabrook: guitar.

The Drum

Tracks: Hidden Voices; The Drum; Aluminum Donkey Dance; Thesis/Antithesis; Askew; Control and Let Go; Inflation; Low Blow.

Personnel: Andrew Drury: percussion.

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