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Desert Dances

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Album Review

The Music of Stars was a descriptively titled album of songs inspired by the background noise of the universe. The Voyage (actually a previously unreleased work recorded in the 1970s but not issued until after the turn of the millennium) contains impressionistic echoes of sea travel. And so 2006's Desert Dances completes the trilogy with an album inspired in part by the indigenous sounds of various North African musical styles. It helps to know that Morris Pert is part of the same old-school U.K. progressive rock scene that includes Peter Gabriel (whose albums Pert has played on in his day job as a session drummer), because Desert Dances bears a strong influence from Gabriel's similar explorations. By some distance Pert's most immediately accessible album, Desert Dances is basically a blend of jazz, progressive rock and ambient music that's spiced with percussion and other accents from Moroccan or other North African forms, but wisely, Pert stops well short of attempting to replicate this music himself. In fact, the best songs here like the languid, jazzy piano improvisation "Tangier Nights," and the circling, mutating keyboard lines of "Mama Quilla," sound more like Another Green World-era Brian Eno or trumpeter Jon Hassell's experiments in ethno-fusion jazz than the average vaguely colonialist "worldbeat" album, and they're all the better for that.


Born: 09 September 1947 in Arbroath, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Percussionist/composer Morris Pert came out of the jazz-rock fusion era of the '70s to play music with many big-name artists and produce projects that displayed his wide range of interests beyond instrumental contemporary jazz. Born in 1947 and growing up in Arbroath, Scotland, he pursued a professional career by studying at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1969, and on a scholarship learned advanced composition and percussion at the Royal Academy in London. While attending the Academy he won...
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Desert Dances, Morris Pert
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