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Two Doors

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Album Review

Former Santana drummer Michael Shrieve's 1995 release Two Doors is appropriately titled, for it is really two albums in one, with two different trios providing the music. The first half of the record, subtitled "Deep Umbra," features Shrieve with guitarist Shawn Lane and bassist Jonas Hellborg performing eight jazz-rock compositions full of catchy themes and fiery improvisations. Lane is, simply put, one of the most technically gifted guitarists ever to pick up the instrument, and he records far too obscurely and infrequently. It is to his great credit that he never displays his abilities gratuitously, but instead carefully measures them out for maximum impact. He is a consummate musician. The same could be said about Hellborg, who not only holds down the bottom end with his sensitive yet powerful bass, but also shares co-writing credits for seven of the eight songs that he appears on. The second half of the record, subtitled "Flying Polly," features Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz. This half of the record is jazzier and more avant-garde than the first half, and frankly doesn't work nearly as well. There are moments where some of the rockabilly jazz elements that Frisell and Horvitz explored in John Zorn's Naked City come to the foreground, but, besides that, most of this portion of the record sounds flat and uninspired. It is a shame that this had to be the case, especially considering how good the Lane-Hellborg trio is. However, Shrieve's drums are very nicely recorded, and he always plays the most appropriate thing for any given song, never showboating or otherwise distracting from the integrity of the composition. There is much merit in this frustratingly inconsistent album, and for fusion fans it is worth searching out.


Born: July 6, 1949 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Jazz

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

Shrieve has had a long and interesting career as a rock drummer, percussionist, and progressive electronic composer. Gaining early recognition as the powerhouse drummer for Santana, the teenage Shrieve was launched into the popular culture maelstrom when he performed an extended drum solo during Santana's appearance at the legendary Woodstock festival. Over the years, Shrieve has continued to strive for innovative approaches to percussion-based music. His numerous...
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Two Doors, Michael Shrieve
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