The World Groove Collective
Such a collection of instrumentation fills this release as to practically gaurantee satisfaction by that critereon alone. Exotic drums and percussion from the world over are complemented by Senegalese kora and vocals, Malian vocals, Syrian violin, Flamenco guitar, hurdy gurdy mbira, kalimba, cello and more. Fittingly dubbed "World Groove", Passport is just that: an entrance visa to a new land where many countries become one. The sound is organic, not "fusion" in any constucted or manipulated sense of the word. Rhythm rules the jams that unfold in seven tracks with such fitting titles as "Kora Kora", Gypsy Serenade", "Desert Moon" , "Eternal Twighlight' and "the Seventh Veil"
Truly tribal... the drumming, singing, playing and rejoicing are some of the best to be found.
--Maya Trace Borhani--
Passport and Mali Foli
New Age Retailer
As a percussionist, Jim McGrath has made quite a name for himself. Combining dozens of insruments collected from around the planet. McGrath creates layers of juicy percussion that drive the eclectic songs of Passport. Strong African influences abound from, Malian Vocals and Senegalese Kora to the use of mbira. Not that Passport is strictly African. You'll also hear flamenco guitar, the hurdy gurdy, Syrian violin, and some cello.
The unifying elements on Passport include McGrath's percussion and excellent music. The seven tracks comprising of more than 45 minutes of music, all feature bouncy world-beat dance grooves that demand movement. The length of Passport is perfect for a good workout, but it's also great for dancing. Given that, Passport also works as delightful background music.
Drummer / percussionist Jim McGrath will launch you out of your chair and
have you dancing with the first notes of "Yaburu," the opening track of his
current release Passport. The CD is a collection of songs from all over the
world, with exciting drum and percussion grooves and diverse instrumentation
including the Senegalese kora, Syrian violin, Flamenco guitar, hurdy gurdy,
mbira, kalimba, and cello. Senegalese and Malian vocals add that much more
fire to an already sizzling recording. The solo by Badialy Cissoko, "Kora
Kora," is a highlight of the album, and is very reminiscent of Ali Khan.
McGrath produced "Passport," which also features Darrell "Congo" Greer on
congas; George Hamad on violin; Fred Hammon on upright bass; Fatou Keita and
Assitan "Tata" Sangare on vocals; Shannon Michael Terry on mbira, kalimba,
Yussi on flamenco guitar; Michael McDonnell on guitar, Shaba Manuna on percussion and vocals; and of course, Jim McGrath on drums and percussion. Together,
they present an unforgettable World Groove recording. Readers will remember
McGrath from his previous recordings, Soul Dancer, Drum Spirit, and
Percussive Environments. Expect no less than the best with Passport.
Jim McGrath & The World Groove Collective
Alternatve Music Press
Mickey eat your Hart out. I realize the Grateful Dead seemingly brings
credibility to a world-percussion recording, but Jim McGrath has put together a
collection of performances that should sit proudly next to Mickey or any Arthur
Hull recording. Infectious, eclectic, kitchen sink grooves to sink your teeth
into-- Malian vocals, Senegalese Kora, Flamenco guitar, Syrian violin, cello
and even Spectrasonics samples give this recording a wildly diverse breadth of
Yussi's fiery, majestic nylon-string guitar work highlights "Sambenco,"
while Daryl's lurid violin opens "Gypsy Serenade" before Yussi follows the
accelerating tempo and whips it into a frenzy. The distinctively Arabian "Desert
Moon" features Ethan James on Hurdy Gurdy -- nice touch. All the while
McGrath subtlety and sensitively propels the time on drums, cymbals, bells,
shakers and probably the aforementioned kitchen sink.
Never one to get in the way, he blends masterfully, which is probably what all
ancient tribal music used to be, before we all got silly and started going to
Review by Don E. Zulaica
Jim McGrath / Passport
Moussa Traoré / Mali Foli
Talking Drum approaches percussion from almost two opposite directions on these two strong new releases.
Jim McGrath is a percussion alchemist, mixing an array of African instruments (congas, kora, mbira) with violin, cello, hurdy-gurdy, and flamenco guitar, among other instruments. The grooves, African at the core, are used as springboard for exploration into Middle Eastern and Gypsy territories. It all hangs together cohesively with little of the spaciness that plagues so many world percussion recordings.
Mali Foli ("Rhythm of Mali"), produced by McGrath is the work of a traditionalist. Moussa Traoré presents seven ceremonial pieces from a variety of Malian ethnic groups in thier original forms, with call and response songs segueing into extended drum rhythms. Whiile the performances have the feel of a field recording, the studio production is excellent, allowing each instrument and voice to shine through.
Together these two releases constitute a hearty mix of old and new.