September 2006

Shawn Glyde - Alternate Rhythm
iMuso 8678-2
Format: CD
Released: 2005

by Katherine Silkaitis

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

On Shawn Glyde’s second album, drumming again takes center stage, as the Fresno State instructor pounds out rhythms for genres ranging from bebop to smooth jazz. Glyde is probably an excellent instructor. The drums never overpower; they only accompany the excellent bass and piano lines, which are adeptly provided by Yellowjackets Jimmy Haslip and Jason Galuten.

The album is an odd amalgamation of disparate ideas that, in the end, work well together -- "fusion" in the purest sense of the word. The album opens with the brassy "Blur" and soon is whirling through 11/16, 7/8, 4/4 and 19/16 time, with rarely a dull moment. Glyde's writing is sophisticated. The structure of the songs was conceived before the harmonic and melodic elements, yet there is a great deal of modulation, with a lot of the tunes adopting a motif early on, then changing it as the song progresses.

"The Odd Temple" (which could have been titled "The Odd Tempo") is a perfect example. The beginning sounds as though it copped its beat from a Missy Elliott tune of a couple of years ago. Then it mutates into a vaguely Middle Eastern sound, with high, vibrating strings and quavering vocals sung by Meghan McKown.

The sound quality is solid and balanced -- drumming takes the spotlight during Glyde’s solos, while even the quietest cymbal brush is still audible when it defers to the other performers. Layers of sounds are intriguing rather than annoying, and each line is distinguishable, giving aural depth to an already intricate collection of compositions.