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Drum Nation

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Drum Nation, Volume 1 (CD on Magna Carta Records)

Compiled with the cooperation of Modern Drummer magazine, this release from 2004 offers 66 minutes of energetic rhythmic tunes by some of modern music’s most renowned percussionists.

While some tracks consist of dazzling percussion alone, most of the pieces feature auxiliary musicians or the drummer plays additional instruments, expanding their compositions into lavishly rounded performances.

Featured on this collection of original tracks are:

Terry Bozzio (from Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck). This contribution seethes with lively hooks, sneakily looped sampled voices and more than just a plethora of percussive impacts, including wailing synth guitar and assorted effects that jazz up this compulsive melody.

Bill Bruford (from Yes, King Crimson) offers a superb showing with his band Earthworks. Bruford’s legendary and feverish percussion is augmented by frolicsome horns, cooking piano, and gritty basslines.

Steve Smith (from Journey, Vital Information) and Zakir Hussain (from George Harrision, John McLaughlin) deliver two tracks that blend surging rhythms with saxophone, sitar, and bass. Raga sensibilities are combined with celebratory harmonies, resulting in a major dose of fun-time. The second track (which is “Part 2” of the previous song) features a dazzlingly complex drum solo.

Chad Wackerman (from Frank Zappa, Steve Vai) utilizes nimble vibes, fusion guitar, and sneaky bass to compliment his quirky-but-straight-ahead drumming, producing a Zappaesque tune that spins and whirls with captivating sway.

Stanton Moore (from Galactic, Garage A Trois). Besides a funky does of rhythm, this track features the Lil Rascals Brass Band, lending a heat to the swinging good time music.

Simon Phillips (from the Who, Toto). Employing a few session musicians to flesh out his percussion with heavenly guitar, rollicking keyboards, and rumbling bass, Phillips renders a sonic mood that calls out from the great heyday of Canterbury bands with a touch of modern jazz seeping in to give it edge.

Josh Freese (from A Perfect Circle, the Vandals). While conventional rock instruments are featured on this track, the star is the insistent drumming, belting out cerebral rhythms with sinewy abandon.

Rod Morgenstein (from the Dregs). Accompanied by versatile keyboards, Morgenstein’s drum work captures the tribal attitude of the street and forces that disposition into a futuristic venue complete with breaking solos.

Tim Alexander (from Primus, Blue Man Group) and Brain (from Primus, Buckethead) collaborate to produce a sincere but quirky homage to Frank Zappa with a moody rendition of his classic “Shut Up and Play Your Guitar”--only this time, it’s “Shut Up and Play Your Drums.” Amusing and engaging.

Marco Minnermann (from Paul Gilbert, Nena). Congenial backing supports Minnermann’s durable drumming, resulting in a tasty excursion through the New England countryside.

Stephen Perkins (from Jane's Addiction) and Brooks Wackerman (from the Vandals, Suicidal Tendencies) team up to produce a dialog between two drum sets that swiftly mutates into a machine gun melody that pinnacles with a resounding and entertaining chaos.

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