204

Warren Smith: Natural/Cultural Forces

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Warren Smith: Natural/Cultural Forces How best to impart compositional intent to a band? Musical notation, graphical diagrams, singing or playing parts or discussing motives and visions? Veteran percussionist Warren Smith has experienced the whole gamut over his 74 years, with everyone from Charles Mingus, Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill Dixon, Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison to contemporary classical composer Harry Partch. For his own Natural/Cultural Forces, Smith adopts the last approach to guide the imaginations of tenor saxophonist Andrew Lamb, French horn player Mark Taylor and bassist Tom Abbs.

In spite of a long career, Smith has relatively few recordings under his own name, making this disc noteworthy. Drawing from a library of over 300 compositions, the percussionist has a lot of ground to make up. He deploys gongs, tympani, marimba and all manner of devices in the realization of the six pieces here and his compositional method conjures a loose improvisational feel and elicits spirited performances from his band.

At nearly 20 minutes, "Pyramid" dominates the album, both in length and sustained interest through multiple sections, including a stately duet between Taylor and Lamb and a theme contrasting long tones with scuttling improv and breath sounds. Sadly that is the only piece for the full quartet, with duets between Smith and each band member and finally two solo percussion pieces rounding out the program. Not that the rest is at all bad: "Epicenter" is a free ranging study in percussion and bass textures while the closer "El Yunque" is structured around pitched percussion, gongs and marimba, though they pale in comparison with the opener. Here's looking to a whole album by the quartet next time out.


Track Listing: Pyramid; American Flamingo; Taurus at Pasture; Epicenter; Royal Drums of Duke's Court; El Yunque.

Personnel: Tom Abbs: bass; Andrew Lamb: tenor saxophone; Warren Smith: drums, percussion, marimba; Mark Taylor: French horn.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Engine Studios | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Hearts & Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Hearts & Minds
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Clean Spring" CD/LP/Track Review Clean Spring
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Tropical Infinito" CD/LP/Track Review Tropical Infinito
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Wheel of Time" CD/LP/Track Review Wheel of Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Live at PafA" CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!