November 2007

Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain - Global Drum Project
Shout Records 826663-10706
Released: 2007

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Intricate rhythmic patterns weave throughout the eight songs on this disc, the first release from percussive partners Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain in 15 years since winning a Grammy Award for their 1991 album Planet Drum. As the world’s leading percussion masters, these two have discovered a mutual affinity for exploring the limitless realms of primal rhythms, and their material is an expertly guided lesson in the universal language of the drum.

The array of percussion instruments throughout the disc is extensive and includes many unusual, rare instruments. Hussain is a world-renowned tabla master, displaying his skill with impressive speed and technique. Hart played for decades with the Grateful Dead, but more recently has become respected as an expert on drum culture, and world-music traditions and preservation. Also collaborating on this disc are Puerto Rican conguero Giovani Hidalgo, talking drum player Sikiru Adepoju, sitar player Niladari Kumar, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, and Hussain’s brother Taufiq Qureshi on percussion and vocals. The late African singer and drummer Babatunde Olatunji sings by way of sample on the opening track, "Baba." A heavy reliance on Pro Tools and sampling contributes added effects throughout the disc but surprisingly doesn’t mar the beauty of the basic sound.

The end result is a multi-layered rhythmic patchwork, beautifully arrayed and expertly produced with a sound that is full and reverberant, trance-inducing and textural.