Shawn Glyde: Alternate Rhythm

Robert R. Calder

Glyde attempts to recreate the jazz album backwards, and while the results are strong, it seems like a mere stunt.

Shawn Glyde

Alternate Rhythm

Label: Imuso
US Release Date: 2005
UK Release Date: Available as import

Drum-master Glyde thinks he's made a recording back to front, first preparing five minute-ish soundtracks, rhythmic compositions, to which melody and harmony instruments and the occasional human voice were added. Rather than the drummer working to hold things together, he's prepared a template in advance, and now joins in when he feels appropriate as one of the band. The idea's not wholly novel -- George Russell's "Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature" has been around for decades. Here, "Blur" sounds a little like a tape played backward, at least till Christopher Bullock's tenor solo. Jimmy Haslip's on "additional keyboards" rather than the bass guitar he plays as a third of Yellowjackets, and "Tony's Temple" sounds bright and spontaneous. "The Odd Temple" has guitar twang and evocation of darkness opening (cf. old James Bond film music -- Glyde's himself reminded of Tomb Raider), synthetic strings and Megan McKeown doing a Casbah vocalise. The pop/rock flavour Glyde finds in "Blind" isn’t so strong, other than the guitar loop played over his impressive drum thrash. Emerzian's soprano and Scott Dean's muted trumpet would have been better, less mechanical: but this set's by and large frisky. Do actual hands clap before the soprano enters "Water Drums", disguised somehow as melodica? Emerzian joins himself on tenor and sounds melodious. Jimmy Haslip plays bass, hands on strings. Hands meet hands again, just as hands meet keys on a tribute to the sometime fusion band "Audio Mind": Brad French's fingers included, playing trumpet ("synth"). Jason Galuten, contributor throughout, opens the closer, "Disposable Art", on (wood, strings) piano. Its name seems odd for a tune inspired by (surely not commenting on?) Weather Report's "Procession". A straight piano trio number other than Haslip's use late on of "additional" keyboards for atmosphere. Does Glyde mean he just sat there after work, listening while the others play? Why not?

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