The concept of the jazz drum solo emerged out of band arrangements where drummers who normally kept time in the background could leap out front for a brief moment in the sun. It has matured since then, and the full range of colors available to the modern percussionist can make a drum solo much more than a showy display of virtuosity. Dave Storrs emerges on his solo percussion disc Another Thing as a drummer of many talents: first and foremost, his appreciation of subtlety.
The disc starts out in neutral territory, an expression of composure and restraint. Storrs maintains a regular pattern for reference while he explores the nuances and shades available through his expanded kit. (Notably absent here are the cymbals and gongs which seem almost mandatory in most drummers' collections; Storrs prefers the reverberant strike of a mallet on wood, metal, or skins to the tinkle and crash of the big brass.) As the recording proceeds, he experiments more and more with melodic instruments of bewildering diversity. While simultaneously engaging the purely African concept of textured polyrhythms, he begins to reach out to tuned instruments with a broad range of pitch. As Storrs integrates these resonant tones, he maintains a sense of forward motion. It is this sense of constant progression that defines his appreciation for melody.
After a series of short pieces exploring various ideas and tones, Storrs emerges toward the end of Another Thing with "What's That (New) Noise?", his most abstract piece. This tune defies any kind of obvious reference meter, instead branching out into a study of vertical relationships among tuned instruments. It's a nice cap on the predominant theme of overlaid textures, explicitly presenting a tip of the hat to the percussion ideas which arose in the free jazz movement of the '60s. And the last piece on the record, "Last Layer," engages a resonant, spacious feel without keeping time. Overall, Storrs does a wonderful job with color and texture on Another Thing. The recording refuses to offer up attention-grabbing flash and bang, instead holding to an appreciation of subtlety and melody. Indeed, as Storrs states in the liner notes, this disc has a "frolicking feel."
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