Jim Love is a drummer with much of consequence to say, refreshing in a field flooded by Cobham and Weckl wanna-bes. A teacher, freelance percussionist and symphonic tympanist, Love combines a wealth of methodical knowledge with a clear creative vision. One listen to his melodic approach on the solo feature "An Introduction" verifies that he's seriously musical-minded, not just out to whack sticks on skins for kicks.
There's a most interesting variety of forms and textures on this disc. "Cymballic", which flits in and out of 7/4 time, features the soulful piano of Jon Langseth and some rather tentative sax work from Jeffrey Wiles. In fact, all through the disc Wiles sounds as if he's scared of the microphone, which reduces the impact of his playing. A cover of Tony Williams' "Emergency" conveys most of the urgent tension of the original, and Andrew Hatch's sharpness on tracks like "Pent-Up" add bolstering force to otherwise laid-back grooves.
"Ballate Patimento" is a pretty ballad that better suits Wiles' reservedness. Langseth's gentle, floral chords and Hatch's Wes-inspired lines really sell this track. Love goes it (almost) solo again on "I Drum, Therefore I Am...", thrashing around over an unusual loop of cowbell, guitar and sound-effect samples. The last two tracks initially seem like a drummer's self-indulgent dream, with all the ethnic sounds and polyrhythms bouncing about, but there's some serious rhythmic substance within. Recommended for drum fans who seek something new.
Track Listing: An Introduction; Cymballic; Emergency!; 3 am Rendezvous; Ballate Patimento; Pent-Up; I Drum, Therefore I Am...; 'Fridgerator Experiments; Khan Al-Khalili; Exorcise.
Personnel: Jim Love, drums and percussion; Andrew Hatch, guitar; Jon Langseth, keyboards; Robert Spicer, acoustic and electric basses; Jeffrey Wiles, saxophones; Dave Franklyn, guitar (#3,6); Andrew Bellanca, electric bass (#8); Michael Bardzik, Franklyn, Hatch, Langseth, Spicer, percussion (#10).