New this week: Drury’s “Content Provider,” plus albums from Imagine Dragons, Phosphorescent and The Grizzled Mighty.
Andrew Drury, ‘Content Provider’ (self-released)
Drummer Andrew Drury grew up on Bainbridge Island and, along with high-school classmate Mike Sarin, studied with the late, great Seattle percussion professor Dave Coleman Sr. In 1998, Drury moved to New York where, also like Sarin, he became a stalwart on the experimental “downtown” jazz scene.
“Content Provider” is Drury’s first studio recording as a leader since 2003’s “A Momentary Lapse” (with Eyvind Kang), and it’s a dazzler. Recorded with two saxophones — alto man Briggan Krauss (another Seattletite-turned-New Yorker) and tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock — plus Brandon Seabrook, guitar — it’s an urgent, elemental journey through a mercurial landscape, with compelling pulses, zigzag melodies and squalls of John Zorn-like free jazz.
The album features six originals, plus a lovely, slow motion, Mingus-like version of the Clifford Brown classic, “Daahoud.” Drury’s drummerly compositions often feature horn and guitar lines that function as staccato elements in a percussive weave, with Drury offering discrete attacks on the toms and pared-down but nuanced cymbal work that recall his other teacher, New Orleanian Ed Blackwell.
On the opening track, “Keep the Fool,” an insistent, distorted electric guitar pulse acts as a kind of bass line. “Ancestors Friends Heroes” slides a rolling African feel under the long tones of a wailing, plaintive melody, a la Ornette Coleman. “Commune of Brooklyn” is a conversation between all the instruments, sometimes in pairs, sometimes talking all at once, and moving through a variety of neighborhoods.
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Free improv sometimes sounds clinical or exhibitionist (or both), but Drury’s commitment to compositional shape and his soulful jazz foundation never let that happen. Welcome back, Andrew!
Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic
Other new releases
The Grizzled Mighty, “Closed Knuckle Jaw” (Red Bull Sound Select)
Phosphorescent, “Live at the Music Hall” (Dead Oceans)
Imagine Dragons, “Smoke and Mirrors” (Interscope)