Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Larry McDonald - Drumquestra

With more than 40 years experience in the percussion game, Larry McDonald is finally releasing his first solo album. And playing with folks like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Taj Mahal and Bad Brains over the years, McDonald brings a whack of different sounds to the table.
In the first single, 'Head Over Heels' (featuring Dollarman) and especially in the second tune, 'Brother Man,' the album begins with a thumping of dance hall beats.
By the fifth track, 'Drums Say,' the sound becomes more stripped down - allowing the man behind the music to be heard properly.
Crazy bongo soloing and a mixture of percussive elements keeps things interesting behind of chants of "Go Larry, Go Larry" during 'World Party.'
Surprisingly, 'Save the Children,' featuring a guest appearance by Toots Hibbert continues with the heavy bass-driven, club vibe heard in this record's early moments. No old-time reggae tones here.
An impressive jazz flavour is sprinkled through the last quarter of this experimental recipe.
'Mento in 3' is a clear stand-out track on the album. McDonald plays on a rock during this recording made in a cave at Runaway Bay, Jamaica.
'Drumquestra' (Dawn Always Comes) moves with tribal feelings, complete with bird noises. Followed nicely by 'Backyard Business' - featuring Bongo Shem and the New Creators, McDonald nails what we hoped was coming. An out-there, try anything attitude involving jazz roots. The album concludes with a history lesson and encourages us to research the true history what we are always told is an American art form. 'Got Jazz?' gets going with a scat and references Thelonious Monk in the midst of a rant about the origins of jazz in Jamaica. 'Jamaican Jazz Roll Call' is a guide for those who may only be familiar with Ernest Ranglin and Monty Alexander.

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