Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Brian Shankar Adler: Fourth Dimension


Brian Shankar Adler: Fourth Dimension


Sign in to view read count
Brian Shankar Adler: Fourth Dimension
A percussionist with fierce rhythmic dynamism and a multiplicity of ideas, Brian Shankar Adler has steadily assembled a formidable body of work over the last several years, despite being relatively under-recognized. Much of this music has been released incrementally, through digitally downloaded EPs, perhaps attenuating its impact. But Adler should receive much more visibility with Fourth Dimension, a full-length album that pulls together the best of his work since 2015, and it offers a strong portrait of one of the more creative, forward-thinking drummers on the scene today.

Since 2016's Binary (Circavision) and Mysteries of the Deep (Circavision), Adler has kept the same company, a smart move in fostering cohesion and a shared approach. Vibraphonist Matt Moran, pianist Santiago Leibson, guitarist Jonathan Goldberger and bassist Rob Jost are all veterans with their own substantial resumes, but their partnership with Adler reveals their affinity for music with open-ended contours and internal tensions. There is beauty in Adler's music, but it usually is found beneath the surface of the uncanny, leaving one just a bit unnerved in following its logic.

Some of Adler's work might be too conceptual for its own good; Binary was written with the help of a computer-based algorithm, lending an occasional austerity to the music. In contrast, Fourth Dimension emphasizes the warmer side of Adler's disposition, but without diluting his pieces' complexity and heft. Indeed, what one notices more than anything here is the groove at the heart of the music. Pieces like "Mantra"—which features Adler's terrific brushwork over a simmering melody articulated by Moran in dialogue with Goldberger—or "Rudram," an overt gesture to Indian classical musicwith irresistible energy, offer ample proof of Adler's ability to create compelling rhythmic momentum.

But it is also Adler's adept use of his colleagues that warrants interest. Moran alternates between offering melody and texture, perfectly realized on the menacing "Pulses," a piece with brooding intensity, and Goldberger's skewed interjections help create the eerie mood of "Pendulum." Leibson's judicious use of electronics plays an essential role in establishing the disorienting spirit of "Gowanus," before he shifts to a more assertive piano presence in accentuating the piece's insistent drive.

While those following Adler's development have savored each brief glimpse of his craft, it is nice to have a more extensive document with which to investigate his artistic trajectory, one which will hopefully draw even more attention to this enterprising percussionist and composer.

Track Listing

Introduction Drone; Mantra; Rudram; Pulses; Windy Path; Gowanus; Watertown; Nuearth; Pendulum; Rise and Fall; Alternative Facts.


Album information

Title: Fourth Dimension | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Chant Records



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Chris Rottmayer
Shimmer Wince
Anna Webber
Being Human
Lynne Arriale


Vijay Iyer
Jazz Hands
Bob James
London Afrobeat Collective

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.