14 May 2009

How to fit an orchestra into a cave

It's not often that a reggae-rooted album makes it to the top of my playlists, but here's a welcome exception to that rule. The first solo album from legendary reggae player and Jamaican percussion virtuoso Larry McDonald freshes up the genre, raining down great rhythms and a remarkable cast of guest musicians. Toots Hibbert, Mutabaruka, Dollarman, Shaza and Terri Lion are among the vocalists on the generous 15 tracks.Larry-McDonald---Drumquestra - on SoundRoots.org

My early favorites include the positive-rap and rhythm "Brother Man," the percussion-celebrating "Drums Say" and "Drumquestra (Dawn Always Comes)," the latter recorded recorded in a cave near Runaway Bay on Jamaica's North Coast. Also great is the instrumental "Mento in 3," on which McDonald plays a rock -- not just any rock, but one he's wanted to record for years, we're told.

Though McDonald has played with the reggae greats -- including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Bad Brains -- this abum goes far beyond that genre, dipping into hip hop, jazz, even Indian classical music.

"I wanted to take elements from everywhere, because all drums from Cuba, Africa or Brazil are family" Larry explains. "I knew that rhythms from many places could work together and make a whole different texture. I wanted to take Jamaican rhythms I was familiar with, like kumina and rasta and weave them together into something old but new."

In Drumquestra, this reggae great has made a fantastic global album.

[mp3] Larry McDonald: Brother Man featuring Shaza And Terri Lion
from the album Drumquestra

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