Recorded at a concert performance in New York, Sarah Hommel's all-percussion ensemble has a lot to offer for the general audience. Hand drums and a standard drum set combine with vibraphone, xylophone, marimba and many other natural textures to form colorful themes, many of which use indefinite pitches. The program proves stimulating as well as rhythmically comfortable.
Hommel's central medley arrangement of three pieces by other composers sets the ensemble on fire with a collective nod to traditional Haitian and Afro-Cuban rhythms. The leader sings a gentle chant and the other band members respond with due process as they interpret Subri Moulin's "Jungle Beat, Robert Thomas' "The Whip and Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood. Dance One for Honi features four drum kits in a wide-ranging conversation that moves from one to the other with crisp clarity and a flair for rhythmic pride. They swing, too.
The ensemble honors natural rhythmic concepts that recall South African and Afro-Caribbean traditions, as well as contemporary percussion maneuvers. At times you can feel the kind of emotion that comes from the fired-up drum line of a marching band on the field. Hommel's gentle chants and down-home lyrics add a personal flavor that brings the performance even closer. As the ensemble's music ebbs and flows, its sheer variety proves adventuresome and intellectually satisfying.
Track Listing: Should I Be I Prefer Not To; It
Personnel: Sarah Hommel: drums, percussion; Bill Ware: mallets, percussion; Rich Zukor, Victor Lewis, Victor Jones: drums, percussion; Mino Cinelu: percussion.