On the wittily-titled Content Provider
, Seattle-born, NYC- based drummer and composer Andrew Drury
leads a remarkable band consisting of saxophonists Briggan Krauss
(best-known for his work with Sex Mob) and Ingrid Laubrock
, and gonzo electric guitarist Brandon Seabrook
. Despite lacking a bassist (Seabrook provides some bass- line like figures here and there) it's a small band with a very big sound.
A student of the late Ed Blackwell
, Drury is best known for his work as a free improvisor, though his resumé includes collaborations with a wide range of forward-thinking artists, most notably Jason Kao Hwang
, Nate Wooley
, and Bruce Eisenbeil
. Those familiar with Drury's work thus far may well be surprised at the quality and depth of the drummer's delightful compositions and arrangements on Content Provider
. The gloriously eclectic "Keep the Fool" juxtaposes an Eastern European-inspired melody with a swaggering hard- bop bridge before veering off into a breakneck-paced free improvised section. "El Sol" addresses Latin rhythms in a distinctive way. Seabrook sits this one out. Drury's drums set up the Morse Code-like theme, and the rest is all about Krauss and Laubrock. They are an interesting pair whose similarities are as interesting as their obvious differences.
The title track, a lengthy, multi-sectioned piece, opens with goofy fanfare that vaguely resembles Richard Strauss
' Thus Spake Zarathustra
. A brief exploration of long tones ensues as Seabrook drops out. After the theme is revisited, Seabrook grabs the spotlight with his customary ferocity, as the rest of the quartet eases into the action. The piece progresses episodically, juxtaposing composed passages with duo, trio, and full-on quartet improvisations of varying length and density. The highlight of the album, however, may well be their rendition of Clifford Brown's "Daahoud." Taken at about half tempo, with Krauss' vibrato-rich alto out in front, the quartet unearths a wealth of bluesy grit in the breezy bebop classic.
The album's final track, "The Band is a Drum Set" is a nakedly aggressive heavy rock manifesto with Seabrook's guitar conjuring Tony Iommi
and Richie Blackmore
moreso than Sonny Sharrock
or Eugene Chadbourne
. It's another example of Drury's (and Seabrook's) wicked sense of humor, and his band's versatility. Drury's splashy drumming is a highlight throughout Content Provider
, though it's the combination of intricate ensemble work and and all-out, balls-to-the-wall free improvisation that captured and held my interest.
Keep the Fool; El Sol; Content Provider; Ancestors Friends Heroes; The Commune of Brooklyn; Daahoud; The Band is a Drum Set.
Andrew Drury: drum set, composer; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone; Ingrid Laubrock: tenor saxophone; Brandon Seabrook: guitar.