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Album Review

In this solo album, longtime Steve Tibbets collaborator Marc Anderson pays tribute to his deceased grandmother. The music is basked in an aura of (grand)motherly love, immutable, assured, and reassuring. That is to say, nothing in Ruby disturbs or shocks. Anderson's creativity and talent push the music into warm territories of world fusion. His percussion instruments provide the basis for all pieces. Most have multi-tracked percussives with overlaid melodies, others feature percussion as the melody. Many guest artists bring their own touch to the tunes, namely singer Barbara Cohen in the opening piece "Movie" and Laura MacKenzie in the awkward "French Bourrees" (attempting to fuse bagpipes and African percussion in a bourree form registers as awkward in this reviewer's book). The two best pieces are "Gati" and "People Are Leaving," where the melody shifts back and forth between steel drum and mbira (a thumb piano, it sounds like a low-pitched music box). These create a sense of exoticism without giving way to clashes between traditions. The production is excellent, and obviously a great care went into the sophisticated arrangements, the result of painstaking studio work. But as pleasant as it is, Ruby doesn't strike the listener as being powerful or even memorable. A nice listen, but little more. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Ruby, Marc Anderson
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