Friday, October 23, 2009

Impure Thoughts - Pete Lockett - Selva Ganesh

Hello, Friends!

First of all, today I'd like to share a video clip that up on the Tube from one of the bands in which I had a ton of fun performing in: Impure Thoughts! This sextet, led by the extraordinary pianist, Michael Wolff, was one of the rare groups that I worked with for an extended length of time in which I never performed on either bongos or congas. In fact, I really can't remember any other band in which I both toured and recorded with that described my participation as strictly a "percussive colorist".

Mike had originally thought of my inclusion in the band as a Tabla player who also used sound effects, but I instead suggested that he use a full-time Tabla drummer and referred him to my friend, the musically-flexible Badal Roy.

The concept that Michael was looking to explore was that of a world-music sound that did not lean towards the Latino concept, as he abhors the role of the Latin pianist who is often relegated to "playing montunos all night." As such, after a series of rehearsals, during which we three got tight with the other members of the band - John B. Williams, on electric up-right bass, Alex Foster on saxes, and trap drummer Victor Jones - I settled on a functional percussive arsenal that featured Shekere, Berimbau, Cuica, Djembe, Timbales, and another 50 or so sound effects. I introduced a Wave Drum (it's a drum synth, built by KORG) during a couple of gigs in NYC, but I believe that Mike and Badal were a bit frightened by the electric amplification of such and I was requested to please remain acoustic. I always did, however, use my K & K contact mics for my Berimbau and Cuica, so that I could project my sound while not being prisoner to a specific stage location.

This composition is called Eritrea, and was inspired by Mike's personal exploration of the music from various areas of northern Africa. It just happens to be the first song that we worked on at our first rehearsal at Euphoria Studios in Manhattan!

Impure Thoughts Clip

Now, it gives me great pleasure to share with you the news about a wonderful drumming book which has recently been released by my friend and colleague, Pete Lockett. The book is, "Indian Rhythms for Drumset". The book presents an in-depth study of the intensely complex musical system of rhythmic cycles which define both the music tradition from northern and southern India.

Pete, whom I met and befriended at a WOMEX conference in Berlin (and, who later, along with his wife Pam - who is also a musician! - visited me in Rio de Janeiro) is one of the premier percussionists of our generation, who happens to be from England! He has certainly paid his dues, subjecting himself to acquiring drum knowledge through the traditional method of apprenticeship to a drum master, for a long period of time. His efforts have handsomely rewarded him with vast profound knowledge and impeccable technique on both the Tablas and the Kanjira, the major classical drums of northern and southern India.

Indian Rhythms for Drumset

Rather than a book by a trap drummer who has "checked out" Indian drumming and attempted to graft some of the exotic swing beats to the traps, Pete has absorbed the true essence of Hindustani and Carnatic culture, becoming a master Konnakol reciter, as well! And, for those of you who are not familiar with this term - Konnakol is the art of reciting the Indian rhythmic cycles / rhythms, using the traditional onomatopoeic syllables! In India, this is a respected discipline in and of itself and many times one can enjoy a Konnakol reciter performing on the stage alongside the musicians in a Carnatic music concert. The accompanying CD is chock-full of vocal and sonic illustrations of all of the transcribed rhythmic examples covered in the book.

Congratulations, Pete, on a seriously fine workbook which will prove a valuable addition to all drummers and percussionists!

And now....... MORE DRUMS!

Here's a clip of a smokin' Kanjira drummer by the name of Selva Ganesh, who happens to be the son of the greatest Ghatam player, T. H. Vinayakram. You'll see an example of some Konnakol singing, as well as Selva playing a traditional Monitor Lizard-skin Kanjira.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Giovanni Hidalgo + How To Copyright a Song + More Drums

Hello, Friends! Welcome Back!

You know, it just dawned on me that I've yet to acknowledge a dear friend of mine who, in turn, has grown to be an inspiration to thousands of drummers, young and old. I'm referring to the one-and-only: Giovanni Hidalgo!

I first met Giovanni around '82 or '83, when I went to Puerto Rico to perform a series of shows with the Airto Moreira and Flora Purim Band. The band configuration, at that time, had Airto at the helm from the drumset, with me on multiple percussion and Flora featured on most of the vocals. The other members of the band included Jeff Elliot , Kei Akagi, Keith Jones, Larry Nass.

During what was to be the first night of a week-long engagement at the Teatro Tapia, in Old San Juan, friend and fellow drum-brother Angel "Cachete" Maldonado showed up during the sound-check, to hang out and catch up on old times. It was at this moment that he introduced us to somebody whom he was mentoring on the Bata drums: Giovanni. We all had dinner together and then, after the show, Cachete took us to a restaurant a couple of blocks away where we ran into bassist Eddie Gomez, who was also in town, performing with I don~t remember who right now.... We all had something to eat and drink when.... don't ask me how, but, there were suddenly some more drummers on the scene with congas and Plena hand-drums... and I had my shekere (like American Express...I never leave home without it!)... and an electric bass materialized and fell into Eddie's hands...and the jam was on! Pretty soon, the restaurant owner locked the doors and the sangria began to flow and the music and drumming got more intense, and.... well, let's put it this way; I remember leaving way after the sun had come up, feeling tired but enriched and thankful for this unforgettable experience. And, Giovanni, a young teenager, at the time, had hung in there with us, just drinking soft drinks and playing drums non-stop all night!

That series of concerts in San Juan led to the recording of Airto's first record album directed towards a Latin fan base. It was a project produced by Frank Ferrer and recorded for a Puertorican label called Tierrazo Records, which came to be titled, "Latino: Aqui Se Puede". The recording session was done in Los Angeles and included, besides the core members of Airto's band , some other cats such as Roland Baptista (guitarist with Earth, Wind and Fire), Laudir D'Oliveira (percussionist with Chicago), Geni da Silva, Giovanni Hidalgo, Joe Farrell,Jorge Dalto,Oscar Castro Neves, Rafael Jose ,Tite Curet Alonso, and Tony Moreno.

At Mickey Hart's (Grateful Dead) Ranch/Recording Studio, in San Anselmo, California.

At the time of this recording, I was impressed with Giovanni and his dedication to his craft, because whenever there was a rest period during the studio recording, when we'd all be either listening to what had just been played and/or discussing new ideas or specific music arrangements, we'd notice that Gio would have slipped out, only to be diligently but softly practicing something that, to my eyes, was a different way of handling the conga drums. Friend and colleague, Sammy Figueroa, used to tell me that when Giovanni stayed with him, at his apartment in NYC, he would often wake up in the morning and find Gio already softly practicing on his congas...apologizing, in case his shedding had woken Sammy up!

Besides this seminal recording, Airto brought Giovanni and myself back together again for the recording of his CD, "The Other Side of This", produced by The Grateful Dead's drummer, Mickey Hart.

This CD became very special for me, as I believe it was the first one on which I recorded the sacred Bata drums on popular music...and it also marked my debut as a lead vocalist on a commercial recording! And, while we were in San Anselmo, CA. recording at Mickey's studio, he took the opportunity to invite me to perform on his Grammy-winning CD, "Planet Drum".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Planet Drum is a world music album by Mickey Hart, a musician and musicologist who was a member of the rock band the Grateful Dead.

Hart's concept for Planet Drum was to play drum music with percussionists from around the world, and incorporate their different musical styles and traditions into a new global sound. The musicians on the Planet Drum album were from the United States (Hart), India (Zakir Hussain and T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram), Nigeria (Sikiru Adepoju and Babatunde Olatunji), Brazil (Airto Moreira and his wife, vocalist Flora Purim), and Puerto Rico (Giovanni Hidalgo and Frank Colón).

Planet Drum won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album of 1991, the first year for which the award was given.

Since then, Giovanni has completely re-defined the concept of playing conga drums and shows no sign of stopping his forward motion! While there may be a slew of young drummers who have studied and learned the techniques that Gio has generously demonstrated, none to this day, in my opinion, have been able to perform the ambi-dexterous double-stroke speed rolls and other modern and progressive techniques with the sophisticated musicality that Gio so smoothly exudes! And, besides the unequaled height at which he glides, soaring constantly higher out into space, I have rarely, in all my life, met a more humble and compassionate human being!

I consider this friend of mine, who kids around calling me "Uncle Frank", to be truly the Avatar of the art of congas.... touched by the hand of God.

Here's a video clip of Giovanni, totally open to the universe and channeling cosmic sound vibrations!

Now, I'd like to share a video about a topic that might interest musicians in general: How To Copyright A Song.

I was recently looking for some printed info on this subject, you refresh my memory, as I'm writing some new material... and I came across this video clip which explains the procedure quite clearly.

Check it out!

Now, those of you who know me (specially, my colleagues who've been on the road with me!) are well aware of the fact that I've been a vegetarian and a physical fitness buff, from way back! I'm not so much a gym rat as I am a martial arts lover, having pursued and earned teaching degrees in Chinese Tai Chi and Israeli Krav Maga.

I've also always approached the art of drumming as a physical contact sport, for which one has the responsibility of maintaining one's health and fitness in the utmost of excellent conditioning! I owe it to myself, in respect for the material vehicle which houses my essence this time around, as well at to the friends who come out to enjoy my music!

Photo session for DRUM! Magazine Interview

As a vegie-head since 1970, it's definitely been a challenge to tour around the world, often visiting countries where the concept of a vegetarian was often exactly like that scene in the movie, "My Big fat Greek Wedding" - where aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) tells boyfriend Ian Miller (John Corbett) of the bride-to-be Toula Portokalos, (Nia Vardalos), "What do you mean, you don't eat no MEAT?! (pause...) That's ok....I'll make lamb!" For years, when touring, I'll pack, along with my clothes and many instruments, a large supply of vitamins, dried fruits and assorted fresh nuts and seeds, in order to supplement my diet. Back in the 70's, I used to get some weird stares for this... not as much anymore, though.

So, as I'm definitely a senior citizen now, ("...what do you mean...'NOW'? You've been senior citizen for a long while, dude!") it always pleases me immensely when I run across an example of someone who embraces similar concepts about healthy living, nutrition, meditation, martial arts, chanting, NLP, and other self-improvement and enlightening disciplines as me! One such brother very dear to me is the sensational guitarist/composer/producer/animal rights activist/meditator/cosmic joker, Jamie Glaser (, who's friendship changed my life for the better and who's example continues to inspire me towards striving for the maximization of the human potential. But, I will write about Jamie, at length, in a near-future post on this blog....

Jamie Glaser

Right now, however, I'd like to share a video clip of 72 year-old bodybuilder, Jim Morris, in hopes that his example may serve to inspire us all to believe that there are no limits to what we, in our humble human form, may achieve! Once you see this, I think you'll see why this clip has been viewed close to 2 million times! And, please, pay attention to the description of Jim's diet! :-)


And, of course...........MORE DRUMS!!!

Here's a short clip of former child prodigy and present-day tabla master, Zakir Hussain, gracing us with a short solo in the Tintal (16 beats) rhythmic cycle. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Book by Clive Stevens + Drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez

Hello, Friends!

Ever since moving to NYC in '76, I've always considered myself a New Yorker. And, face it - being a New Yorker is really more about a certain attitude and manner of thinking and living, rather than simply an identification with having, by chance, being born there! I many New Yorkers are actually native-born in Manhattan or any of the other boroughs? Truly the capital of the world, it's vibe and energy adopt those who move there to make a difference in their own lives as well as to leave their mark on the culture of our blue and green globe.

Yet, alongside of this love for the Empire State, I have always considered myself to be a planetary citizen. I can't remember when I began to answer the question of, "Where are you from, man?", with a response that always went more or less like, "Well, I'm from New York, although I was born in D.C. and raised in Puerto Rico...but, who knows where I'll die, so actually, I'm from Planet Earth!"

There's one cat, however, whom I've known for years and consider family (he was actually married for a long time to a cousin of mine!), who I've always considered to think and exist in a plane beyond the constraints of our planetary dimensions, as they are conventionally understood by most people. This "undiscovered" Renaissance man that I would like to make mention of is the British-born composer / musician / producer / spoken-word artist / poet who most often goes by the name of Clive Stevens.

Part of the NYC east-side underground music scene during the 80's with a raw but sophisticated band he christened as "Brainchild", Clive has been consistently composing and releasing his own musical product for decades. And, for all of his artistic uniqueness / eccentricity, the highest caliber of musicians have always gravitated to his side, seeking to collaborate and/or participate in Clive's projects...and I'm talking about cats such as Steve Gaboury, Tony "Thunder" Smith, Lincoln Goines, Billy Cobham, TM Stevens, Mino Chinelu, Roy Venkataraman, Kenia, Teruo Nakamura, and many more! I feel lucky to have participated on his CD, "Language of Secret Hearts", which has been previously featured on this blog!

Clive Stevens in Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Alexandre Campos

But, I mention Clive, at this moment, in order to bring to attention his latest release of a new book of poems titled, "Stardust Transmissions", which is available on

Stardust Transmissions Cover

Here are some of the reviews that Clive's poetry book has received on Amazon....

5.0 out of 5 stars A true bohemian spirit, June 27, 2009
By Rachel
I love this book! It's a compendium of poems, lyrics and experiences expressed freely by Clive Stevens. Clive is old-fashioned in that he is a romantic whose sentimentality is never treacly, always from the heart. Simultaneously, he is beyond modern: he is futuristic. This world traveler and lover of life has a world vision that goes beyond globalism out into the galaxy... Sometimes earthy, sometimes classic and sometimes with all the cosmic love of a raver on ecstasy, Clive Stevens definitely has his own voice. He has gathered together the experiences of a fascinating life and thrown them all up into words of beauty.

5.0 out of 5 stars Protean, June 17, 2009
By Ronald J. Boocock (New York NY)
Clive Stevens is unique. He will change his shape and answer only to someone who is capable of capturing him.
He has a universal way of describing the interactions and interrelations of the natural forces that occur in the world and beyond. His poetry is forceful, yet the tenderest of all. It must be read.

And, while I could talk about Clive's music for a long time, I'd rather post one of his videos and just let you soak it in and enjoy the entire experience.

And, of course..........MORE DRUMS!!!

This precious clip is from the movie, "Calle 54", a film directed by Spain's oscar-winning director, Fernando Trueba. Featured here is the badass trio led by pianist Michel Camilo, which includes Anthony Jackson on electric bass and Horacio"El Negro" Hernandez on drums. In my opinion, this is the most polished performance in the movie for, as you will easily see, the level of musical execution is beyond outstanding! Each one of these cats has mastered their instrument to the point of breaking new ground and creating a new definition as to what is artistically possible...all the while grooving hard....digging in....and radiating pure bliss!

Check out Horacio "El Negro's" multi-dextrous independence in his drumming! After years of religiously shedding 8 hours per day, he effortlessly divides the rational side of his brain into four parts, being able to express (at least) four different rhythmic and melodic manifestations simultaneously, each emanating from a different extension of his body. And it's become so effortless that he`s able to consciously enjoy his own musicality as well as enjoy the music and love that his bandmates are broadcasting, as well. As a drummer, I can`t tell you enough how beautiful this pure musical communion is...!

The joy is excitingly contagious.... I just now relaxed, sat back and enjoyed this performance once again.... and, my whole body is covered in goose-bumps!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Honoring My Mentors - Julito Collazo

Hello, Friends!

Quite some time ago, once I began to be invited to join world-class performance acts (…after struggling in NYC for a few years), such as with Michael Babatunde Olatunji, Gato Barbieri, and the dynamic duo of Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, a wise mentor/colleague told me that, “Once you manage, through your own efforts, to enter the elevator going up, you have the responsibility of sending it back down again… so that someone else may get in and come up, too!”

Speaking specifically about my own career and other life-choices and paths, I have never forgotten the individuals who not only gave of their time to “send the elevator down to help me” but who also took me under their own wings, so that I could learn to fly. It is with this love in my heart, that I will be honoring them, through this digital broadcast vehicle, throughout my future writings. Some of these people are still here, positively influencing the world, and some are gone, having transcended this material plane. But, the memory of those departed, lives on in my essence and if my sharing of their talents and contributions comes to entertain and/or enlighten you in any way, then what they lived for will continue to nurture positivity for all of us, and for future generations.

One such mentor and friend, early during my life and career was the late, GREAT master drummer, Julito Collazo.

LP photo- Martin Cohen

I met Julito in 1975, at a festival showcasing the Latin-American folkloric traditions which was held in Washington, D.C. and sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. During the rumba portion of his presentation, he casually asked if there was anybody in the audience who had the nerve to come up on the stage and jam with him and his group. Amidst the blank stares of almost all of the D.C. area drummers on hand, I immediately sprung to my feet and strode towards the bandstand. Julito looked at me rather quizzically, asking, “Oh, YOU want to jam? Ok…here…play this hoe.” He then began singing a “conga de carnival” song (“…Siento un bombo, mamita, me está llamando…..”), to which I began wailing on the garden hoe, beating out the conga clave, before any of the other drummers began playing. Julito turned his head and looked at me….and gave me a smile that I’ve never forgotten!

Performance at Delacourt Theater: Julito-Iya, Frank-Itotele, Frankie Rodriguez-vocal

After the presentation, we talked together for a while, which led to phone conversations, which led to a 13 month apprenticeship with him, learning the rhythms and the religious rituals of the sacred Batá drums. Every couple of weeks, or so, me and my buddy, Leo Leobons, would drive up to NYC, to hang out with Julito and shed on the rhythms and songs that he would teach us. During one weekend, where I drove up with Margo just to enjoy one of his Toques de Santo (for Changó, by the way), he told me that I should move up to New York, as he had a spot for me in his group and there was an apartment available in his building! I moved up the very next weekend!

Performance at Delacourt Theater: Julito-Iya, Frank-Okonkolo

I worked exclusively with Julito and his Afro-Cuban Drum Ensemble for the following five years, until he traveled to Cuba to become a Babalao. Returning from Cuba, he basically retired from active drumming and, in doing so, advised me, “…to extend my horizons and my musical vision beyond the world of ritual drumming!”, for I had a lot more world to visit and learn from. And, I dare say..... I’ve taken his guidance to heart!

And, of course…………MORE DRUMS!!!

Here’s a classic vintage clip of another master drummer, Tito Puente! I never enjoyed the opportunity to perform with Tito although, as a member of Julito Collazo’s drum ensemble, I did perform for a spiritual celebration of his Changó!

Check out how back in 1965, Tito was already using two sets of timbales, tuned melodically! Notice the short length of his drumsticks as well as the lack of a cowbell on either of his timbales!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tribute to Michael Galasso & Mongo Santamaria + More!

Hello, Friends!

I’m back from a fun weekend at our Vedic beach house, in Angra dos Reis!

My brother-in-law, Louie Saucha, also has a great house in the same private (gated) community and this weekend, along with a bunch of good friends, we celebrated his birthday on Saturday night. One of the highlights of that evening was a private, in-house circus act by two young carioca circus performers, one of them a musician/clown/trapeze artist (he had actually set up a trapeze in a part of the living room!) and the other one a contortionist fire-breather!

I had just arrived with Margo after enjoying a sauna session and dashed out to the car to retrieve a video camera in order to film the trapeze act…but, the camera wasn’t there, so I ended up using my phone to capture these small clips that I’m bringing here to share with you. The performers are Celso (whom we know since he was a baby!) and his friend Natalia. Louie, the birthday honoree, can be seen with the silver top-hat, enjoying the show!

My good buddy, Russian guitarist Roman Miroshnichenko, has a fine, new CD he’s just released, titled, “Temptation”. Roman, as far as I’m concerned, is the premier Russian guitarist of this decade and I have a wonderful time performing with him every time I visit his country, which has been on a yearly basis since 2003. So, it was a natural urge to invite him to participate on a song on one of my on-going pet projects, The Musical Nations Project (, which he gladly accepted to do, performing brilliantly on the track titled, “Xekere”. He then turned around and included the track on his new CD, released in Russia and Europe and available through CD Baby ( and iTunes!

Temptation CD Cover

Also featured on the track are: from England - Clive Stevens (soprano saxophone), from Spain – Michael Groosman, and from Brazil – producer/composer/arranger Daniel Figueiredo. Also on the CD are musicians Henrik Andersen (soprano guitar, vocal, sitar, harp, konnakol vocals), Hernan Romero (acoustic guitar), IKA (vocal, spoken word), Nikolay Rostov (keyboards, programming), Sergei Filatov (electric piano), Leonid Atabekov (keyboards, programming), Galina Mishustina (vocal).

Now a video clip from one of my drum mentors; the late GREAT Mongo Santamaria! The song is “Leah” and this is a “live” recording, taken when Mongo and his band were the opening act for an unforgettable show by the Fania All-Stars at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

Last month, one of my good friends and colleagues, Maestro/violinist Michael Galasso, passed away in Paris, after a fierce struggle with liver cancer. A brilliant composer of film soundtracks and avant-guard theater music, over the years, we worked on some memorable and interesting projects together, such as a two-hour sound sculpture, commissioned by Georgio Armani foundation and designed to sonically circulate the entire Guggenheim Museums of New York and Bilbao…the first sound installation in the Guggenheim’s history!

Galasso constantly stretched the boundaries of contemporary music: from his early use of evolving music technologies, to working with Iranian, Indian, South American and African Musicians, to his use of MIDI violin and the Internet. He performed in more than 300 concerts all over the world always in groundbreaking places, such as the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, The Kitchen in NY, the Médersa in Marrakech, and the Roman Amphitheatre in Malaga. Gallasso’s work has been presented in such festivals as the Festival d’Automne in Paris, The Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy and the Festival de Musique Montreux-Vevey.

In 2001, I performed with him at the Venice Bienniale, who commissioned a music score for a ballet by Carolyn Carlson. His works have also been included in the repertoire of the Paris Opera Ballet. We also worked together on film soudtracks, some of which won the European Critics Award and the César for the best foreign film.

My last project with Michael was participating on his last CD, titled “High Lines”, recorded in Oslo, Norway and produced by the famous Manfred Eicher, owner of the prestigious ECM Records.

High Lines CD Cover

The following are the two reviews of this album on

5.0 out of 5 stars Broadening his sonic palette, June 16, 2005
By Jan P. Dennis "Longboard jazzer" (Monument, CO USA) -

With the addition of Terje Rypdal (guitar), Mark Marder (double-bass), and Frank Colon (percussion), mysterioso violinist Michael Galasso significantly expands the aural soundscape in this follow-up to his 1984 disc Scenes. How many other musicians wait more than two decades to come out with a second release? That's what Galasso has done, which, one supposes, does little to undo his reputation as a first-class musical iconoclast.

And the sounds contained in this provocative disc further that reputation. This collection of mostly miniatures mainly featuring the leader's unique violin stylings does open things out in the direction of jazz beat/chamber jazz/world metal styles--a quite beguiling mix, if you ask me. The inclusion of guitarist Terje Rypdal was a stroke of genius. The longtime ECM-label staple here plies his rock-tinged improvisational skills to maximum effect. Check out his playing on, esp., "The Other." The leader seems to restlessly shift from one soundscape to another, moving with ease from drone to Nordic fiddle music to world jazz to Gothic to New Music to classical to chamberish ambient to Middle Eastern sounds, all with stunning effect.

It certainly helps to have completely simpatico bandmates. And one could hardly ask for better interpreters than Rypdal, Marder, and Colon. Each brings a wealth of recorded and live-music experience, plus an ability to completely tune in to the weird vibe that leader Galasso exudes.

Certainly not for everybody, but anyone with an adventurous spirit looking for highly idiosyncratic but brilliantly conceived and played instrumental music will want to check out this remarkable recording.

4.0 out of 5 stars Incidental music at its best, October 23, 2005
By Paul Kim (Athens, GA United States) -

Michael Galasso's first release under his own name since 1984's Scenes consists of 16 aural vignettes covering a refreshingly broad scope of moods and styles. While listening to 30-second clips tells you very little about certain albums, in this case you'll find out all you need to know. Each track sets up a certain mood or sensation and maintains it, for the most part, throughout. Any development you get is relatively subtle. Calling this disc background music is certainly not an insult, but this music doesn't stand up to studied listening. Having said that, it is still, with a few notable exceptions, a beautiful album.

ECM's typically-pristine production captures the performances exceptionally well. Galasso's violin sounds gorgeous, and the different percussive textures that Frank Colón produces are almost magical. Nice double-bass work by Marc Marder as well. However, the guitar work of Terje Rypdal sticks out, and not in a good way. Take "The Other," for instance. Not even Manfred Eicher's sonic prowess can do anything to reduce the displeasure you get from hearing Rypdal's guitar tone. His is the reverb-drenched buzzsaw distortion tone that you hear 13-year-old nu metal shredders-to-be use as they test out import Strat copies through 15-watt solid state amps at Guitar Center. On this track and others, it spoils the otherwise-gorgeous sound of the album. In addition, some of Rypdal's playing itself comes close to noodling. Granted, he does have some nice moments, but I'd sooner not hear him.

Still, this is quite an intriguing disc, though maybe not one you'll continue to cherish for years and years.

And, of course…..yes……MORE DRUMS!

A classic inspiration for me, back when I was still in The American University, majoring in Political Science – the infamous conga duel between Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barreto, performing with the Fania All-Stars, titled, “Congo Bongo”!

I still get goose-bumps when I see this!!!