Hu Vibrational: The Epic Botanical Beat Suite

John Ephland By

Sign in to view read count
Hu Vibrational: The Epic Botanical Beat Suite
Uniquely atmospheric, this music evokes both the mysterious jungle as well as what it might be like to listen in space, outer space. Hu Vibrational Presents The Epic Botanical Beat Suite points to both the inner as well as outer journey. All of it exquisitely tethered by the Beat, or beats, beats that float in and out as if seamlessly emerging from one musician, one mind.

That one musician is Adam Rudolph. And yet, this isn't a computer- generated project coming from one desk, one human, one machine. Hardly. Rudolph has assembled an incredible array of artists to join him, 11 in all, in this followup to his three previous Hu Vibrational albums. Percussionist/composer/bandleader/tireless conceptualizer Rudolph trains his sights on a deeper, percussively more African and Afro-jazz groove. But it's not without its present- day affectations, drawing as it does on those ephemeral yet striking spirits of hip-hop and electronica. In fact, The Beat Suite distinguishes itself from not only its own predecessors but recalls similar undertakings by similar outward-bound creatives such as trumpeter Jon Hassell and ambient pioneer Steve Roach, not to mention Mickey Hart's Dig Rhythm Band project.

There's a continuous mind-meld that expresses itself over floating, roaming time signatures, from something wandering between a waltz and a straight 6/4 dance with the opening cut "Akete" to trance-inducing grooves in 5 with "Charas" and "Soma" in 7. But this is not an exercise in numbers, akin to all those creatively clever concoctions Dave Brubeck was cooking up more than a half century ago. Rather, Rudolph has assembled a tight, intuitively based group of musicians who are capable of training the listener's audial "sights" on the feelings this music creates, the focus more on the body than the head.

In addition to providing the "organic arrangements" to Beat Suite, another hat of Rudolph's, namely that of producer (and mixer), is worn in this marvelous collection that sounds even better when heard with headphones, the addition of longtime Bill Laswell engineer James Dellatacoma as co-producer only adding to the magic. The team of world-music percussionists joining Rudolph—playing on everything from frame drums, cajon, udu, hadjira and caxixi to slit drum, rebolo and tarija—includes members of Rudolph's 36-piece Organic Orchestra: Brahim Fribgane, James Hurt, Matt Kilmer, Tim Kieper, Keita Ogawa and Tripp Dudley. Special guests include bassist Laswell, Eivind Aarset on electric guitars, Steve Gorn on bansuri flute and Alex Marcelo on Fender Rhodes.

Perhaps nowhere else on the planet at this time is someone capable of blending the ancient with the modern, the purity of the acoustic with an uncanny naturalistic approach to electronics, than Adam Rudolph. Just listen to the funky grooves, the floating beat alongside the juice from Aarset's quietly grinding electric guitar refrains and Laswell's deep recesses on "Kwa-Shi" for a taste of what might jumpstart any cocktail party into one that dances, with a dance music style Hu calls "Boonghee Music." Or the delicious simplicity found with Marcelo's Fender Rhodes opposite the delicately driven jungle groove of "Agobi," Gorn's flute a welcomed echo of Rudolph's former late partner Yusef Lateef. In fact, while all eight of Rudolph's compositions are hefty listens in and of themselves, there is an inevitable flow that bridges all of them into what is ... The Epic Botanical Beat Suite.

Track Listing

Akete; Charas; Soma; Hikuli; Kwa-shi; Agobi; Ya-jey; Akete (Remix).


Adam Rudolph: bata, slit drum, rebolo, gangkogoui; udu, percussion; Brahim Frigbane: cajon, tarija, udu, percussion; James Hurt: sogo, kidi, igbo bell, udu, percussion; Matt Kilmer: frame drum, djembe, kanjira, udu, percussion; Tim Kieper: dusun'goni, pandeiro, caxixi, udu, percussion; Keita Ogawa: earthtone drum, frame drum, hadjira, pandeiro, udu, percussion; Tripp Dudley: kanjira, cajon, bayan, frame drum, udu, percussion; Eivind Aarset: electric guitars; Steve Gorn: bansuri flutes; Bill Laswell: electric bass; Alex Marcelo: Fender Rhodes.

Album information

Title: The Epic Botanical Beat Suite | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: M.o.d. Technologies

Post a comment about this album


View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon


Daniel Thatcher
New Leaves
Dan Rose, Claudine Francois
Steve Swell
A Swingin' Sesame Street Celebration
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton...


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.