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Hamid Drake & Bindu: Bindu

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Because jazz is rooted in improvisation, it can readily incorporate other musical genres and instruments. Especially since the '80s and the emergence of so-called world music, sounds and instruments from Asia, Africa and Latin America have found a welcome home in the music. Percussionist Hamid Drake has been among those at the forefront of this fusion.

Bindu (a term in yoga that means prayer) is a mixture of jazz with Middle Eastern, African and Indian musics. The thirteen-minute "Remembering Rituals," where Drake plays frame drums and Nicole Mitchell flute, is a sound journey that lands the listener in the middle of a North African bazaar. "Bindu # 2 for Baba Fred Anderson"—a more "traditional" jazz composition, albeit in a free style similar to that of former jazz outlaw Ornette Coleman—finds the entire quartet of saxophones (Sabir Mateen, Ernest Dawkins, Greg Ward and Daniel Carter) and drums joining in a blowing and bashing free-for-all. The Middle Eastern journey resumes on a mellow tone with "A Prayer for the Bado."

So far, so good. The Indian-flavored "Meeting and Parting," with Drake on tablas, sustains an eleven-minute drone with Carter, Ward, Dawkins and Mateen improvising on top. While an enjoyable listen, Bindu is best enjoyed in portions—the parts being better than the whole.


Track Listing: Remembering Rituals; Bindu #2; Prayer for the Bardo; Meeting and Parting; Born Upon a Lotus; Bindu #1; Do Khyentse's Journey.

Personnel: Hamid Drake: drums, tabla, frame drums; Daniel Carter, Ernest Dawkins, Sabir Mateen: tenor and alto saxophone; Greg Ward: alto saxophone, clarinet; Nicole Mitchell: flute.

Title: Bindu | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Rogue Art


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