All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

243

In Concert: Coconuts Feeding Birds

By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Billy Martin
In Concert: Coconuts Feeding Birds
Amulet
2009



Due to his tenure with mega-successful avant-garde jamband powerhouse Medeski, Martin & Wood, Billy Martin currently inhabits the most elite pantheon of contemporary percussionists.

This popularity has made each member of that trio a star in his own right, and their solo work attracts similarly large and enthusiastic crowds wherever they perform. The new DVD In Concert: Coconuts Feeding Birds makes available to all of us such a performance, showcasing the percussionist in a solo environment on stage at Houston Community College in 2008, where he taught a percussion master class. Martin surrounds himself with an eccentric arsenal of instruments, ranging from a standard drum kit to a frying pan, not to mention gongs, bongos and imposing concert bass drums.

The opening "Black Elk Speaks" pays homage to the teachings of the famous Sioux Medicine man by recreating a powerful storm. Martin deftly accomplishes this simulation of a cataclysm by beginning with foreboding rumblings and making the sounds evolve into a chaotic, sonic maelstrom through the crashing of gongs and cymbals. After that nearly ten-minute journey, Martin loosens up with selections that recall the African origins of the handmade instruments used to play them. Perhaps the most enjoyable piece is "Whirlwind Chaser," in which Martin begins by establishing a rhythm on the agogo bells; continuing to play the bells, he walks to his drum set and accompanies the music he's making with his hands by adding a driving beat with his hi-hat and bass drum.

The rest of the set presents Martin as a virtuoso supreme. He's like a mad scientist happy to be confined to his laboratory where he can play with his toys without being disturbed by the outside world.

In brief, this disc is required viewing for every percussion student or fan. It allows the viewer to spend an hour with one of the world's greatest percussionists in a totally raw, intimate environment that no doubt informs and inspires the music he makes in sold-out concert halls.


Tracks: Six Grandfathers; The Daybreak Star Herb of Understanding; Whirlwind Chaser; Killing the Drought; Duck Pond; Starlings by Starlight; Burundi; Pahoihoi Variations; Guavas Feeding Birds; Lele-Yara.

Personnel: Billy Martin: balaphones, gongs, mbiras, caxixi, pandiero, congas, drum set.

Production Notes: 60 minutes. Recorded at Houston Community College. Extras: 14-minute slide show with personal commentary about his master class,the instruments and philosophy behind his compositions and performance.


Related Video

Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Video/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Mago by Sean Patrick Fitzell
  • Mago by Troy Collins
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Heels Over Head
Heels Over Head
Amulet
2013
buy
[no cover]
Shimmy
Victor
2012
buy
Mago
Mago
Amulet
2007
buy
[no cover]
January 14 & 15 2005
Victor
2006
buy
[no cover]
Solo Live Tonic 2002
Victor
2006
buy
[no cover]
Live At Houston Hall
Victor
2005
buy
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Don Cherry Don Cherry
trumpet
Sex Mob Sex Mob
band/orchestra
Bob Moses Bob Moses
drums
Satoko Fujii Satoko Fujii
piano
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Charlie Hunter Charlie Hunter
guitar, 8-string

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.