I have this theory that I keep returning to that all great jazz comes from the drums or in their absence the percussive and rhythmic heart of any record you care to think about. Given that 27 Licks, a specialist record in the post-Rashied Ali ''multi-directional'' style that doubles the ante, not one but two drummers in a duo that began life on the streets, is taking that theory to extremes. But it works astonishingly well.
Gerald Cleaver is far more comfortable in an open avant setting than say playing hard bop, and in tandem with drummer Devin Gray, not nearly as well known but clearly someone who has a big future, the two prove adept above all at creating colours whether found in the endless variety of a cymbal crash or in the rolling thunder of a heated exchange. Listen hard and you can even hear a kind of melodic counter narrative, say on 'Berne's Tune,' Take a deep dive into 'Headed to Barbès' from the album ahead of the album's October Rataplan label release.
Tags: Album reviews