[4 August 2006]
Live at Houston Hall is another recording from 2002, and pairs Martin with Lounge Lizards co-conspirator G. Calvin Weston for a celebration of the tenth anniversary of their first duo release, Percussion Duets. They obviously compliment each other well, and “Top-side City” discloses a near-unbelievable synchronicity between four sticks and four feet. Not expectedly, this duo recording is denser than Martin solo. Yet, the pair also uses space to their advantage: “Talking Drums” is funky, spacious, and wholly charming. Parts 1 and 2 of “Agoxixi” explore the intersection of tribal percussion and free jazz, with Weston briefly employing a scattershot trumpet. The vocal effects and propulsive twin bass drums within “New Moon” make it an album highlight. Weston’s voice is a prominent feature of this recording, and he often screams his delight during inspired and intense moments of interplay. Though I won’t be screaming the praises of these two releases, I will—even as a non-drummer—tell you that the two hours are engaging and entertaining. Excuse the pun, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that these releases prove: drum’s not dead.