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Stories

Milford Graves

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Album Review

Milford Graves is a fantastic drummer for whom the simple act of hitting a drum calls for his whole body and mind to take over. He lives, thinks, and expresses himself through his contact with resounding objects. All he needed was an album that would do justice to his art. He had come close to it in 1998 with Grand Unification, his first solo CD for John Zorn's Tzadik label. With Stories, he might have recorded the best solo percussion album ever. On this playground, there are no limits to what Graves can do, but no artifices to alter the sound. The recording quality is incredible, better than on the previous album. Nothing is lost in the mix; everything comes through pure and lively. This is the first time Graves has been recorded so faithfully. The performances themselves also belong to the man's best work. The first half of the CD is comprised of five short pieces, while the second half contains "Evolving Pathways," a 32-minute tour de force where Graves entertains, touches, surprises, and shows ubiquitous talents (no, there are no overdubs). He sings and talks throughout, totally captured by his own playing, never resorting to a fixed rhythm or organized structure, the music flowing in organic waves. The listener follows, captivated by the virtuosity, taken over by the powerful poetry of the percussionist. Traditional music categories like "world music," "jazz," or even "avant-garde" crumble miserably into dust as Graves pours his heart and soul into his playing, proving that all music is contained in the art of percussion. Very strongly recommended to anyone interested in percussion or simply wanting to hear what "totally uninhibited expression" really means. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 20 August 1941 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Milford Graves has been among the flashiest drummers in the free mode, known for skillful inclusion of Asian and African rhythmic ingredients into his solos. He studied Indian music extensively, including learning the tabla from Wasantha Singh. He has unfortunately not recorded much, especially on American labels. Graves played congas as a child, then switched to trap drums at 17 before his tabla studies with Singh. During the '60s, Graves worked with Giuseppi Logan and the New York Art Quartet....
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Stories, Milford Graves
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