319

Voodoo Drums: Voodoo Drums

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Voodoo Drums: Voodoo Drums When one examines the role rhythm plays in jazz, it's a complicated affair. The early introduction of European instruments, which essentially make up the modern jazz drummer's kit, brought with it the legacy of the marching band: timekeeping, accents, and (eventually) swing. But the sphere of African rhythm, as it has been maintained in traditions throughout the African diaspora, encompasses a far greater range of texture and color. Many of these instruments are played with hands, not sticks. American jazz artists began to reach out to the African sound in the '60s, when the avant-garde crossed over to build new relationships with the African part of the Afro-American tradition. (Witness efforts by the AACM, for example.)

The closest New World relatives of West African ritual drumming reside in Haiti (Voodoo) and Cuba (Santeria). On this remarkable record of Haitian voodoo drumming recorded in Port au Prince, no other voices dilute the power of the drums. Head drummer Harold Laurenceau leads an ensemble of players who work the full range of pitches available from animal skins stretched over resonant wooden frames. High crackling detail runs alongside stuttering mid-range counterpoint and the heavy warmth of deep tuned drums. (Both the full tonal range and the stereo image come across wonderfully on this recording.)

Compared to the drummers of West Africa, this ensemble interprets texture at a much more dynamic level. The rhythms rest upon an underpinning of structure unique to each piece, dedicated to bringing individual spirits to the physical world. But within these loose constraints, the drummers take maximum liberties to add, subtract, and alter notes. Repetition falls prey to improvisation, resulting in a potent sense of collective intercommunication. (And that's exactly the spirit that evolved out of the Chicago and New York free jazz movements during their explosion in the '60s.) If you listen to this music with an open heart and an free spirit, you'll feel the higher energies gathering with each successive hit. If Voodoo is about spiritual transport, this record will take you into vast, unimagined territory.

Visit Soul Jazz Records on the web.


Track Listing: Yanvalou; Africanadou; Rongol; Zepol; Dahome; Congo; Mai; Parigol; Contredance; Afranchi; Juba; Petro; Kita; Bounba; Koye; Zepol; Areyen; Mas Karon; Ibo.

Personnel: Harold Laurenceau (head drummer); Frederick Frednel; Arnaud Lauture; Jozil J. Rebert.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Soul Jazz Records | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 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 Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Touch My Beloved's Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Touch My Beloved's Thought
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "Triadic Episode" CD/LP/Track Review Triadic Episode
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Breaking Point" CD/LP/Track Review Breaking Point
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!