Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mike Pride - Birthing Days (AUM Fidelity, 2013)

Drummer Mike Pride works in a variety of settings and has recently released two CD’s the mostly percussion Drummer’s Corpse, and this album by his group From Bacteria to Boys, featuring Jon Irabagon on alto and tenor saxophones, Alexis Marcelo on piano and synthesizer, Peter Bitenc on bass and special appearances by Jonathan Moritz on tenor saxophone and Jason Stein on bass clarinet. You know from the title of the first song, “79 Beatdowns of Infinite Justice, the” that this is going to be a fun album and the band doesn’t disappoint. They play with a blasting uptempo feel for the first half of the song, with drums and saxophone propelling things along nicely and synthesizer nearing meltdown. Pride’s drum solo is a bridge to a slower section that the group rides to its conclusion. Marcelo’s synthesizer is also on display during “Birthing Days” developing a sense of melodic funk while saxophone, bass and drums swirl about. There’s a bit of a 1980’s vibe to the proceedings, but their tongue is only partly in cheek as Stein contributes a great bass clarinet solo and Marcelo moves to piano to end the song on a less manic note. On “CLAP” there is strong group unity with some gritty saxophone building an exciting and frenetic feel. Moritz joins in for a thrilling twin saxophone blowout. Pride is the center of attention on “Fuller Place” where he takes an unaccompanied solo to open and then a drum solo during the song. In-between, his aggressive percussion drives dueling saxophone phrases. They conclude the album with a touching tribute to the recently departed drummer Paul Motian with a quiet and spacious performance of probing saxophone and drums on "Motiaon". This was an album that worked quite well; Mike Pride writes and plays with a great deal of wit and this makes for memorable and enjoyable music. Birthing Days - amazon.com

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