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Soul Drums

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Album Review

Drummer/percussionist Todd Isler conceives his modern jazz music as surrounding his playing without being its focus. In many ways a functional, non-melodic timekeeper, Isler is more a colorist and co-operative spirit among his friends and chosen bandmates. He's a good, steady drummer, technically sound but unspectacular. At times you hear a rock or rhythm & blues influence, and in many instances, ethnic musics. This third recording as a leader is made with the help of three different saxophonists on select tracks — the accomplished Billy Drewes, lesser-known Allen Won, and his significant other and co-composer Jenny Hill. Of the ensemble tracks, Drewes is potent on tenor for the neo-bopper "Tiptoe," and energized on soprano sax for the rock influenced, Brazilian tinged jam "Baiao Todd." Won's tenor provides a deeper edginess, especially during the serious 6/8 track "Kyerematan," but goes towards a Michael Brecker neo-bop type stance on "Kalalau Trail." Hill is on one cut, the nice and easy "Olinda." The program alternates on every other selection from combo to solo drum or percussion shorties by Isler, playing frame drum, shakers, or exotic instruments, drum kit, or multiples. The most exciting and focused solo is "Hadgini Journey," but the every-other approach does not lend a lot of cohesion to the date. The finale, the Weather Report/Joe Zawinul evergreen "Badia" has Isler with the steely, echoed, electric guitar of David Phelps, and it is thin in concept and execution. There's a better, funky take, with Drewes on soprano, of Stevie Wonder's obscurity "Bird of Beauty." Isler has a concept that is on the verge of full realization, and time will tell how firm that direction holds over his clear influences. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A striking mix!

I was really pleased with this unique album which includes original and compelling jazz compostitions as well as inspired percussion pieces. Weather Report fans with revel in the arrangement of "Badia". This is a real find.

Soul Drums

This music is so much more than drums (which are killing, btw). Its a showcase of great playing and writing with some great world influences.

Soul Drums, Todd Isler
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: Jul 06, 2007

Customer Ratings

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