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Album Review

This date pairs drummer and composer Bobby Previte in an outstanding duo session with guitarist Marc Ducret, a collaborator in Previte's Latin for Travelers avant surf, fusion outfit. Drawing on a repertoire of advanced techniques, the two create furious sounds, burning free-form funk and quiet, strangely delicate conversations. This music recasts itself with each hearing. Initially sounding like snippets and free-form jams, further attention reveals an absorbing, cohesive cycle of performances. At their heart is the state-of-the-drum work of Previte. He is captured with absolute clarity, the tension and tuning of the drum heads and melodic slash of the cymbals audible down to the finest detail. Blending in-the-pocket grooves and free pulse abandon, the drummer feeds, anticipates, and integrates with his collaborator's extended vocabulary of unorthodox virtuosity that ranges from primitive scraping sounds to mutated Pat Martino runs. As with Previte, the recording fully renders the subtlety and richness of Ducret's playing. With the guitarist playing a variety of axes and Previte doubling on keyboards, these performances amount to something more than duets, especially when Previte splits himself between drums and keyboards in real time. Interactive, electronic processing also that lets the pair effectively be joined — without overdubbing — by a virtual pianist or bassist. At this point, Previte has transcended his association with New York's downtown scene to emerge as a leader and innovator of the broader avant-garde. As with true innovators, Previte draws on the tradition and transforms it. Here it's a tradition that includes Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, Funkadelic, and Adrian Belew-era King Crimson. Those reference points don't explain the music on In the Grass. They simply suggest some of what's behind Ducret and Previte on the trails they are blazing on these intense, uncompromising performances.


Born: 16 July 1957 in Niagara Falls, NY

Genre: Jazz

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

A series of albums recorded in the late '80s established Bobby Previte as one of the relatively few jazz drummers who are also composers of significance, alongside Jack DeJohnette, Bob Moses, and a handful of others. In 1973, Previte received his B.A. in music from the University of Buffalo, where he studied percussion with Jan Williams. He moved to New York City in 1979, where he collaborated with many of the musicians who would put "downtown" on the map. His first album as a leader was Bump the...
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In the Grass, Bobby Previte
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