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Seven Heaven

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Album Review

Frame drum expert Glen Velez has been recording since the mid-'80s, highlighting his mastery of a variety of percussion instruments with the spare yet complementary contributions of fellow percussionists and a variety of wind players. After debuting in 1984, Velez signed with the German world music label CMP, and has since cut a handful of critically acclaimed records for the company. Seven Heaven, the follow-up to his mostly solo CMP debut, Internal Combustion, finds Velez on a variety of frame drums, accompanied by longtime collaborator and percussionist Layne Redmond and flutist Steve Gorn. All the tracks were written by Velez — save for the Gorn collaboration "Amulet of Bes" — and spotlight his work on the bodhran (an Irish frame drum), mbira, ramana (a Thai goblet drum), gaval (an Azerbajani tambourine), and sundry other percussion instruments. Nicely complementing Velez' rhythmic base, Redmond contributes her own mbira, gaval, and ramana work to three cuts, while Gorn fleshes out four numbers with some meditative contributions from variety of Bansuri bamboo flutes. For curious fans not yet ready for an unadulterated Velez percussion outing, this trio disc makes a fine choice.


Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Glen Velez, a Texan of Mexican origin, is one of the most outstanding living percussionists. His instrument is the frame drum, the origins of which can be traced back as early as ancient Mesopotamia. Velez not only plays the frame drum, he studied its rich history and manifold uses as a ceremonial instrument in ancient rituals, and thus also became a musicologist in this field. He not only presents his expertise in a wide variety of performances and collaborations with other artists -- he also developed...
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Seven Heaven, Glen Velez
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