Hamid Drake & Bindu | Reggaeology | RogueArt Jazz

rogueart jazz

Hamid Drake: drums, frame drum, tabla, voice | Napoléon Maddox: voice, beatbox | Jeff Parker: guitar | Jeff Albert : trombone, Hammond organ | Jeb Bishop : trombone | Josh Abrams : double bass, guimbri

Recorded on May 6th, 7th and 8th 2009 by John McEntire at Soma Electronic Music Studio, Chicago, Il, USA except 7 recorded on July 28th 2009 by Griffin Rodriguez at The Sape Shoppe Studio Chicago, Il, USA. Mixed by John McEntire, except 7 by Griffin Rodriguez. Mastering: Jean-Pierre Bouquet at L’autre Studio, Vaires-sur-Marne, France. Liner Notes: Alexandre Pierrepont. Photographs: RogueArt. Cover Design: Max Schoendorff. Cover Realisation: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producer: Michel Dorbon

Tracklist: 1. Kali’s Children No Cry (19:23) 2. Hymn of Solidarity (7:25) 3. Kali Dub (7:12) 4. The Taste of Radha’s Love (9:52) 5. Togetherness (7:07) 6. Meeting and Parting (13:07) 7. Take Us Home (4:03)

The lyrics are by Napoleon Maddox (1, 3, 5, 6), Hamid Drake (1, 7), Ramakrishna (from « The Great Swan, a Meeting With Ramakrishna », by Lex Hixon) (4) and excerpts of Tantric Hymns (from « Mother of the Universe » by Lex Hixon) (7)

Hamid Drake & Bindu | Reggaeology | rogueart jazz

Hamid Drake | Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Following the stream of time and the dances of Kâli

the successive incarnations of Bindu, more a crew, sailing, outward bound, an elective community of musicians, than a defined group of people, divulge the logbook of navigation by Hamid Drake. A logbook of boarding sounds, which is not written but delimits and unlimits the narrative space where the drummer and percussionist freely circulate…

…The third Bindu, dedicated to a rapprochement between “jazz” and “reggae” – neither a recording of “jazz” nor a recording of “reggae”, but a recording from the “Great Tradition” – continues to create open environments…

…Whatever he does, the creative musician states the collective value, the variable mutant of play. Euphoria. At the second hearing, if all goes well, if he got across Kâli’s heart, if he or she does not hide no more, the listener should have grown younger by two or three sources of happiness. — Excerpt from the liner notes, written by Alexandre Pierrepont

Hamid Drake & Bindu | Reggaeology | rogueart jazz

For the first two minutes of atmospheric discourse

between the twin trombones of Jeb Bishop and Jeff Albert, and the human beatbox that is Napoléon Maddox, you would be forgiven for thinking that Hamid Drake’s Reggaeology was an ironically titled free improv set. But that impression doesn’t last. Infectious riddims kick in, based on Bob Marley’s “One Drop,” and from that point on it’s a joyous ride.

As the third disc from the drummer’s leadership vehicle, Bindu, Reggaeology continues the template set by its predecessors only inasmuch as it is completely different to what went before. Their eponymous debut featured four saxophones, stoked by the leader’s drums, while Blissful (RogueArt 2008) was predicated upon spontaneously generated string and percussion grooves, and devotional declamations. This time out, while the recitations—by either Maddox or Drake—remain, they are slung from reggae beats with a two-‘bone horn section. Also gathered under the Bindu umbrella are fellow Windy City fixtures Jeff Parker on guitar and Josh Abrams on bass and guimbri.

To oversimplify, the 68-minute program alternates overtly reggae-based pieces with other world-based rhythm outings, all spiced with pockets of improvised colloquy and timbral exploration. Given Drake’s extensive reggae back story, it’s no surprise that the riddims carry conviction. Both trombonists stretch the horn section vernacular with expressive soloing and relaxed conversation, without the need to draw on avant technique to make their mark. Parker nails the off-beats, but still gets to step out, with guitar hero calisthenics, on the standout opener, “Kali’s Children No Cry.” Elsewhere he’s more restrained, while Abrams gets right down to the roots. Maddox is the wildcard, whether plying a litany of shushes, clicks and pops, crooning sweetly, or intoning spiritual texts.

“Togetherness” spotlights Maddox simulating scratching and dub technology, a trick cleverly echoed by the syncopated trombones, while Drake’s bass and drum “Take Us Home” benefits from the real thing. Reprised from the band’s debut, “Meeting and Parting” is given a choppy, reggae makeover, features amiably duetting trombones. A half-spoken Maddox lyric—which, like a few of the vocals, holds up less well over repeated listens than the accompaniment—is one of the few misfires on this successful genre-busting mash-up. — John Sharpe


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