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Hartigan, Royal Ensemble / Blood Drum Spirit: The Royal Hartigan Ensemble Live In China
Album:Blood Drum Spirit: The Royal Hartigan Ensemble Live In China Collection:Jazz
Artist:Hartigan, Royal Ensemble Added:10/2008
Label:Innova Recordings 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2008-11-23 Pull Date:2009-01-25 Charts:Jazz
Week Ending:25 Jan18 Jan11 Jan4 Jan14 Dec7 Dec
Airplays:212211

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Album Review
Craig Matsumoto
Reviewed 2008-11-21 
Straight jazz quartet with a penchant for weird time signatures and complicated rhythms (see liner notes for detailed descriptions and beat counts). Lots of African influences populate Hartigan's drumming and composing.

It's like a mainstream modern-jazz date, and there are a couple of straightahead standards, too. But don't just coast on those; go for Hartigan's originals, which are packed with rhythmic complexity. If you want to let the music just glide by as "nice" jazz, that's OK too, but keep an ear on the drums and the bass, and you'll find layers upon layers of complexity and rich rhythms.

David Bindman -- sax
Wes Brown -- bass
Art Hirihara -- piano
Royal Hartigan -- drumset and dagbamba luna drum


DISK ONE

1- (16:42) Recurring thumpy riff becomes the basis for one solo after another (drums, sax, piano). In between, some warm contemporary-jazz quartet work, quite nice sounding. Quiet drum solo midway. After -2:30, a new African rhythm on piano starts the coda.
2- (8:32) Fairly slow, eventually building into a warm piano segment. Romantic sax enters later.
3- (10:15) Cruising mid/fast in 11/8, a nice gospel-tinged piano feel. Weird intro.
4- (7:57) Soft ballad. Liner notes include a cool story about Hartigan meeting Duke Ellington briefly in 1965.
5- (7:38) 7/8 take on Dizzy Gillespie classic. Bass solo intro. Dig the danceably Latin piano figure near the end.
6- (4:12) Busy drums and a slightly heavy feel. Some knotty piano and a slowish sax lead.
7- (21:35) Drum solo over a fast odd-time piano riff. A wild start that settles into a more straight (but still odd-time) vamp for the sax solo, upbeat and just confusing enough. Then, everything pauses for a free-form solo on cymbals only, with plenty of blank spaces for a meditative feel despite the noise. Then multiple movements of straight club swing in 11 time, including some furious drumming near the end.

DISK TWO

1- (22:00) Comforting sax/piano lines with subtle, unconventional drum rhythms. Bass solo gets into some etheral spaces; then an active duet of sax with bubbling, African-rhythm drums, great stuff. Drawn-out ending, lots of drums.
2- (7:00) Gentle. Surging waves of dense piano, emotional. Liner notes say its pianist Hirahara's lament for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
3- (8:08) Restrained drum solo, an "adaptation of traditional South Indian solkattu rhythmic vocables." Quiet ending.
4- (15:15) Gets out-there and a little shrill. Then, some nice, fairly fast club-sounding jazz.
5- (6:11) Upbeat bop, a Sonny Rollins cover
6- (2:27) Solo sax, soulfully sad
7- (1:12) Short drum solo
8- (2:00) Hazy metallic noises, a surreal intro
9- (3:16) Rainy-day piano
10- (8:55) Another bop cover, upbeat and warm

Track Listing
1.Crisis In (Now's The) Time 9.Peace, Unknown
2.Flowing Stream/Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 10.Gati Shadows Within
3.Threads 11.High Definition Truth
4.In A Sentimental Mood 12.Oleo
5.A Night In Tunisia 13.Hazel Clark
6.Song For Your Return 14.Asante Adowa/Generations Suite
7.Dreamfireswaking/Initiation 15.Owl's Nightmare
8.Anlo Kete 16.We'll Be Together Again
 17.Tenderly