Back in the late 1960s/early 70s, maybe we weren't ready for it. The Beatles explored psychedelia and Indian music, as did a plugged-in Miles Davis. Then came John McLaughlin's Shakti, Don Cherry, Yusef Lateef, and Joe Zawinul's Weather Report, to name a few heads of state. The music they played, which now might be filed under 'World Music,' was not meant to be ghettoized as such. Miles would have just called it "m-f'ing music." Maybe we should, too.
Bandleader and percussion master Adam Rudolph certainly does.
Glare Of The Tiger is his core ensemble Moving Pictures' seventh disc, and first since Both/And (Meta, 2011). His assembled ensemble is stacked heavily on the side of rhythm with the inclusion of master percussionist Hamid Drake and James Hurt (who doubles on Fender Rhodes piano and synthesizers), and Rudolph himself performs on an assortment of percussion instruments including kongos, djembe, tarija, sintir, cajon, itotele, glockenspiel, and gongs.
The music is a co-production of Meta Records and M.O.D. Technologies. The latter is the brainchild of Laswell and Giacomo Bruzzo. Both men have a penchant for electric Miles Davis music. The title track (the lengthiest at nearly 14- minutes) opens the disc with Damon Bank's sprung electric bass and Kenny Wessel's bubbling electric guitar. Then yes, it's Graham Haynes trumpet pulling some heavy Miles notes. You sense that if this were live, he might be playing with his back to the audience. Ralph M. Jones squares off against Haynes blowing soprano saxophone. The music is back to the future, yet never stale or clichéd. Honestly, the opener is so remarkable, one is almost hesitant to listen further, for fear the remaining six tracks and four brief interludes cannot match this piece.
Not to worry, each piece is a treasured gem. Alexis Marcelo's electric piano ignites "Ecstaticized" with repeated hypnotic patterns played over a persistent groove. The frontline horns enter with Haynes and Jones exchanging solos. The mystical "Wonderings" hovers somewhere between deep space and the dark side of the moon with twinkling electronics and shimmering cymbal work and sparse hand drums. In, around, and under each piece Rudolph crafts a groove which may have originated in West Africa, Haiti, India, or Morocco but finds itself spun together with electric keyboards, guitars, bass, and even a smart phone synthesizer to create a non-pejorative fusion.
Track Listing: Glare of the Tiger; Interlude One; Ecstaticized; Interlude Two; Rotations;
Dialogics; Ciresque; Interlude Three; Lehra; Wonderings; Interlude Four.
Personnel: Adam Rudolph: handrumset (kongos, djembe, tarija), sintir, cajon, itotele,
glockenspiel, gongs, percussion; Alexis Marcelo: Fender rhodes, electric
keyboards, Hammond B3 organ; Damon Banks: electric bass; Graham
Haynes: cornet, flugelhorn, electronics; Hamid Drake: drum set, percussion;
James Hurt: sogo and kidi drums, oghene bell, okonkolo, fender rhodes, smart
phone synthesizer module, sound design; Kenny Wessel: electric guitar,
electronics; Ralph M. Jones: c flute, alto flute, bass clarinet, soprano and tenor
saxophones, husli, bamboo flutes.
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