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royal hartigan/blood drum spirit reviews, quotes and articles – all listed first, followed by selected ones – 

Hartigan’s percussion work is as musical, or more so, than most of the percussion greats who have gone before him. His versatility could be imagined as a solo percussion work, much the way the Art Ensemble of Chicago‘s drummer Don Moye is.]]]

from richard kamin’s bds time changes review 13 july 2019 – 

quotes from richard kamins’ 13 july. 2019 review –

david’s connection of a few of the quotes below, marked in the quotes below with [ ]:

1)

[T]he listener probably does not notice he or she are getting carried away by the exuberance of the music and its creators…If you listen closely, you can really hear the interactions and connection of the rhythm section…time always moves on and we change. What has not changed – if anything it’s stronger – is Blood Drum Spirit and royal hartigan‘s dedication to, love for, and continual exploration of world music and how it is so much a part of jazz. 

You’ll hear how the band uses dynamics to build and maintain its message.   Bindman rides the waves of energy produced by Brown, hartigan, and Hirahara… 

The talking drum is in constant conversation with the bass and the soloists…hartigan sets up a hypnotic rhythm on his drums that hearkens back to his love for West African music. 

…a hard-edged rhythmic romp (on brushes, no less). 

…it rolls forward with an immediacy and excitement that is so attractive.

…the drummer’s dedication to the Black victims of police violence. 

It’s fun to hear the quartet (Bindman on soprano sax) swing with such glee with the drummer leading the way with his ‘parade’ drums.

…a multi-sectioned dance through several powerful melodies and shifting rhythms. Pay attention to the drummer’s long solo (complete with vocalizations of the rhythm he is playing – that leads into a long, exciting, piano solo that resonates with a blend of American jazz and West African rhythms. 

2) from John Pietaro’s June 2019 review in the New York City Jazz Record, pg. 37 (IS IN BDS QUOTES ALSO) :

Royal Hartigan is a most vocal proponent of world music traditions…..uniquely expansive view of jazz and improvisation…… Blood Drum Spirit, is featured in this powerful new documentary directed by filmmaker and photographer Sarah Pettinella….. Hartigan states in We Are One that upon first hearing African music, he recognized its relationship to jazz. “It brought me to a place that transcends everyday life”….. Pettinella caught beautiful moments with village master musicians and average citizens alike….. master musician, dancer and international speaker Kwabena Boateng…..summed up the film’s core in two sentences: “Music can change the world. And I think it’s already done it.”

from Reviews – 

China Grooves (for blood drum spirit live in china cd)

3)  By Richard Kamins for the Hartford Courant on August 9, 2008

  …….a master of polyrhythms, hartigan seemed to have absorbed the teachings of his various instructors and put them to the test in the groups he performs with.

……Bindman has rarely sounded better, whether playing lovely ballads or digging in to an uptempo tune. Needless to say, hartigan’s playing is excellent and the sound mix really captures his wonderful stick and cymbal work.

4) from karl Ackermann’s review of blood drum spirit cd 8 march 2010 –

Hartigan’s percussion work is as musical, or more so, than most of the percussion greats who have gone before him. His versatility could be imagined as a solo percussion work, much the way the Art Ensemble of Chicago‘s drummer Don Moye is.

5a)  babysue.com

blood drum spirit’s ….. styles of music are far reaching and complex. In an era when most musicians tend to stay within a specific genre and play with familiar musicians and friends, royal hartigan easily stands out from the pack…..hartigan is a percussionist whose interests and influences spread all over the map and back……there is a wonderfully unique spontaneous feel to his music. Instead of hearing one predictable song after another, with these discs you simply never know what will pop up next….delving into such diverse terrain….. music fans will really appreciate this wildly inventive stuff… (Rating: 5)

 5b) 

From babysue.com 

royal hartigan easily stands out from the pack…..hartigan is a percussionist whose interests and influences spread all over the map and back……there is a wonderfully unique spontaneous feel to his music. Instead of hearing one predictable song after another, with these discs you simply never know what will pop up next….delving into such diverse terrain….. music fans will really appreciate this wildly inventive stuff…

6)  Album Review of blood drum spirit live in china

 

7)  Kofi Ghanaba (‘Son of Ghana’) IN BDS QUOTES ALSO

royal hartigan has committed himself to living the music of the peoples of Africa and African America. He lives with our brothers and sisters in villages in our homeland, eats our food, dances and drums with heart. Whatever he does in his playing and sharing….is from his whole being and is the real thing.

IN BDS QUOTES ALSO

8) Murray Gusseck, co-owner, Tapspace Publishing, world renown musician,

composer, arranger, percussionist, and drumset performer, Vancouver,

Washington, 2006 –

royal hartigan is one of the great unsung heroes of the drumming world, and it is time the music community made an effort to sample some of the incredibly genuine sounds of his ensemble, blood drum spirit. royal, his music, and the personality of his group convey a consummate aural world view. The looseness, weight, and constant searching of his playing echo the voices ….of Max Roach, Ed Blackwell, Elvin Jones, and Tony Williams. His study of West African rhythm adds a profound sense of depth. royal is an old soul and a musical treasure.

 

9) from Jan P. Dennis review of  cd on January 29, 2004 – 

Format: Audio CD   IN BDS PRESS/REVIEWS

Leader Royal Hartigan ranks among the absolute greatest of contemporary percussionists. Thoroughly familiar with nearly the entire scope of world drumming and percussion musics–everything from Native American, to East Asian, to South Pacific, to West African, to South Indian–Hartigan has found a group of players entirely sympathetic to his massive world music canvas and produced a landmark disk. Of course, it helps that he has spent a lifetime studying and playing everything from bebop to funk to blues to gospel to reggae to hip-hop to African to Afro-Latin styles.
Seeking to situate a variety of native percussive musics in their natural state, yet overlain with a sophisticated jazz-world vibe, Hartigan has produced a disc of uncanny depth and spirituality.

Wielding a startling variety of percussion instruments, including drums, cymbals, rattles, gankogui, axatse, dondo, kulintang, babandir, agung, and dabakan, Hartigan weaves a thoroughly mesmeric sound signature, ]]] which his playing mates–Kevin McNeal (guitar), David Bindman (tenor and alto sax, flute, clarinet), and Wes Brown (contrabass)–completely lock into.
Listen. This is one of the, if not THE, greatest music discoveries I’ve ever made. If you have even the slightest affinity for hip, sophisticated world-jazz, you MUST listen to this…

…unbelievably transcendent music. Absolute highest recommendation. 

10) from review of blood drum spirit by greg taylor VINE VOICE on March 14, 2004

Hartigan is a great drummer and band leader.

What is really amazing is not only how he has mastered and incorporated all of the traditional drums into his drum kit but also how he has brought that knowledge of traditional non-Western drum traditions and put it to use within the context of jazz drumming. 

 Hartigan’s work is a true world jazz.

And behind it all is that vastly powerful universal drum experiment that is Hartigan. In short this is the sort of powerful straight-ahead jazz CD that makes people like me love jazz.

This is a superb CD and one that deserves to be more widely heard. These are first rate musicians playing with a passion, intelligence and a social purpose…This one is not to be missed.

An Absolute Necessity

11)  from Music Gallery (reviewing the blood drum spirit CD)

It takes us on an enchanting journey through the sights and sounds…..from various cultures, usually with royal’s master drumming as the central force. More West African, Juba, Native American, Inuit, Papago and Saguaro cultures inspire our journey through the lands of our ancestors. Besides the consistently creative rhythm team….. David Bindman’s tenor and alto sax play splendid inspired jazz solos throughout. A supreme offering! 

Selected items – 

From reviews – 

1)  Review by David Dupont (five stars) in the All Music Guide *****

…..hartigan integrates elements of the music of Ghana, India, and the Philippines as well as Native Americans into his compositions, using them to express his long-standing interests in multiple time signatures and polymeter. Unlike those who use world music as an exotic flavor, hartigan integrates these influences deep within the structure of his pieces, which are an expression of a world view that goes beyond music….they soar high, lifted by the thermal currents supplied by hartigan and bassist Wes Brown.

2)  from Some Ecstatic Elsewhere by

Peter O’Leary Nathaniel Mackey with royal hartigan & Hafez Modirzadeh

Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 16-25

Spoken Engine Co., 1995

….. percussionist royal hartigan – who plays an array of instruments; the jazz player’s drum kit is one small portion …..hartigan employs a set of Chinese opera drums, clappers, and cymbals toward establishing a dramatic, Noh-like ambiance …..a three-dimensional aural text……cross-cultural otherness is elaborated in hartigan’s insistent patterns beat out on the dondo, a West African string tension, double-headed, hourglass shaped drum. hartigan emphasizes the West African milieu of Mackey’s poem with his playing, syncopating his beat with a similar cross-culturality…..

3)  from the Active Musician Website – IN BDS QUOTES

royal’s work…..will provide drum set players with a ‘new’ vocabulary based on some of the oldest and most influential rhythms in the world.

4) from review of hafez modirzadeh’s cd live art the magic triangle (at umass Amherst concert 31 march 2016) – FULL REVIEW BELOW IN ‘OTHER GROUPS’ REVIEWS

Bobby Bradford/Hafez Modirzadeh (NoBusiness) 

by Clifford Allen 

Hartigan adds a sensitive tumble balanced between background and mid-level surge. A tap dancer and skilled in the use of his hands, Hartigan unfurls a stripped-down and economical web of beats at the beginning of “Wadsworth Falls”…

1)  Kofi Ghanaba (‘Son of Ghana’)

royal hartigan has committed himself to living the music of the peoples of Africa and African America. He lives with our brothers and sisters in villages in our homeland, eats our food, dances and drums with heart. Whatever he does in his playing and sharing….is from his whole being and is the real thing.

2) Music reviewer Ken Waxman: IN BDS QUOTES

…..hartigan …..combines non-Western rhythms with a standard jazz quartet to

create a series of impressive originals …..hartigan brings forth a powerful

Africanized beat…. –

3) Korean American choreographer, dancer, and musician Peggy Myo-yong

Choy, Madison WI, 2001 – IN BDS QUOTES PAGE

…..consummate drummer royal hartigan is a wizard who synthesizes his

expertise in West African and Korean rhythms with jazz drumming.

4) Wesleyan Professor emeritus and legendary ethnomusicologist David Park McAllester, Monterey, MA, 2002

…..a skilled performer with a deep understanding of the cultural milieus from

which these musics arise.

5) Leon Lee, Beijing, China, 2006 –  IN BDS WEBSITE QUOTES HOME PAGE blood drum spirit ensemble is the culmination of many years of work and a confluence of many different musical traditions. royal hartigan’s ensemble

seamlessly incorporates West African, Filipino, and Indian rhythms with the African American jazz tradition.

REVIEWS OF ROYAL WITH OTHER GROUPS –

1) Jazz Gallery Hafez Modirzadeh CD Release concert July 13, 2012 

Posted on July 14, 2012 by bwright | 

Hafez Modirzadeh and Amir ElSaffar

July 13, 2012

…….All night long the music was remarkable.  The piano had been re-tuned so all that Vijay played had very different and highly effective sounds. Hafez and Amir’s duos were ear-popping as was Royal’s solo especially the one where he played with his hands only.  …………..I will just say that this last night during my month long visit to NY was one of virtuosic music.

2) from john pietaro’s review of fred ho’s 2.22.12 concert at red rooster – see full review also – this paragraph is about my playing –

The rhythm section of Arthur Hirahara, electric piano, Julian Litwack, electric guitar, Wayne Batchelor, upright bass and Royal Hartigan, drums and percussion functioned as much more than support. One moment laying it down, the next kicking it up over the heads of the house, they were equally comfortable in every mode. 

Special attention must be paid to Hartigan, a learned percussion master who embarks in world music explorations each time he sits down at his drumkit, which includes temple and wood blocks and other ‘traps’ including a talking drum and a gong. Of note to percussionists (including this writer), Hartigan can often be heard playing his gong like a ride cymbal for a ‘kerr-ang’ that no cymbal can supply. 

Ever the traditionalist in a setting comprised of musical emulsion, Hartigan said that he often feels a sense of guilt playing ethnic instruments apart from their tradition. But this evening was about the amalgamation of sounds that spoke to the people at large.

Here’s a recording that will stand the test of our time and place…..and as you read of the latest hateful, divisive rhetoric of a Rick Santorum, a Newt Gingrich or an Eric Cantor, it will remind you of the need for real social change in our current society. Speak to us Cal Massey, speak.

-John Pietaro is a musician and writer from Brooklyn NY. His website is www.DissidentArts.com. This piece was originally published on The Cultural Worker blog 

3) here is a review of David Bindman’s  Sunset Park CD by Bruce Gallanter of Downtown Music Gallery …

………Bindman has put together a strong sextet, each musician has a strong resume of experiences………….Art Hirahara’s McCoy-like piano solo is a gem as he tosses lines back and forth with Royal Hartigan’s propulsive drumming……..

4) from Bobby Bradford – Hafez Modirzadeh with Ken Filiano & Royal Hartigan: Live At The Magic Triangle 

By GLENN ASTARITA
December 11, 2017

…………With first-call support specialists, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer, Royal Hartigan, the album duly highlights the musicians group-focused chemistry and distinct characterizations they bring to the vanguard.

“Wadsworth Falls” is an extended piece that highlights the multidirectional aspects of the band. Constructed like a suite, Hartigan kicks off a pulsating African jazz type groove in concert with Filiano’s prominent lines and robust line of attack……….The drummer also intersperses a Latin-jazz pulse with rolling toms patterns into the divergent storyboard. No doubt, each composition is a standalone treat, honed down by the artists’ extraordinary communication skills, enviable technical gifts and tantalizing improvisational frameworks. 

Track Listing: She; Silhouette; Bayraktar; Wadsworth Falls; Ashes.

Personnel: Bobby Bradford: cornet; Hafez Modirzadeh: tenor saxophone; Ken Filiano: bass, effects; Royal Hartigan: drums.

Title: Live At The Magic Triangle | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records 

Newspaper Articles. Interviews 

1) from seth rogovoy, berkshire eagle, 2/28/97 for 1 march 1997 concert at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts – royal hartigan: A Drummer’s Mission

by Seth Rogovoy .

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Feb. 28,1997) — For percussionist royal hartigan, tomorrow night’s concert at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is more than just another night’s work — it’s a full- blooded homecoming for the Pittsfield native

who grew up just about a mile up the road on North Street. The city is full of precious memories for hartigan, who will be bringing his quartet to perform an evening of West African drumming and world music in the second concert of the museum’s winter jazz series featuring artists with local roots — the first was Gladys “Havana” Carbo — tomorrow night at 8. For more information call 443- 7171. Just north of the traffic circle at Park Square was the dance studio run by hartigan’s uncle, Ray Hart. There the young, aspiring musician was first introduced to the music and cultural traditions of African Americans that would eventually exert such a strong influence on him that he would write at one point, “I no longer felt a part of white society.” Pittsfield is also full of memories of playing in school jazz bands, of teaching music at the Christian Center, of immersing himself in black culture at the Harambee Center and of studying drumming with Clifford Jarvis. It is also a place of natural inspiration, such as that provided by Springtide Park, which hartigan commemorates in one of his compositions, “Navajo Blood/Pontoosuc Waters/Springside Lands,” which he will perform tomorrow night. In fact, he is dedicating the concert to the Friends of Springside Park, a group which helps maintain the park and to which he belongs. hartigan now lives in California, ‘where he teaches at San Jose State University. The alumnus of North Junior High School – now Reid Middle School – and Pittsfield High says he misses the change of seasons. “People say, wow, California, this warm paradise with palm trees where it’s always sunny. Quite frankly, I miss the snow and the seasons, because they give you a kind of external-internal clock that you can set your life by,” said hartigan in a recent

phone interview~

The road from North Street in Pittsfield to jazz drumming and composing and back to the Berkshire Museum for tomorrow night’s show was a roundabout one that literally took hartigan all around the world. After graduating from Pittsfield High, he went to St. Michael’s College in Vermont, with the intention of becoming a priest. From there he wound up instead entering the Peace Corps and spending two years in the Philippines. “At that point I became very struck and overwhelmed by the poverty of the Third World. Yet despite that material poverty there was the spiritual power of the culture,” he said. This was to be a theme that would repeat itself in years to come, most notably in his time spent in West Africa. “I began to realize that there were these other cultures and that they had a very powerful spiritual base and that the music of each culture expressed that way of life and spiritual foundation,” said hartigan. “I found that despite their material poverty –literally eking out a living from dawn to dusk with their hands and earth – somehow in that process there’s something that happens that unites people to each other in a communal way, and they become connected not to just each other but to themselves and to their environment and to the creator.” Time and again, said hartigan, he found it was music that was the currency that provided this spiritual connection to each other and to a greater power. ‘The most powerful expression of that reality is through their art, their music and dance and singing. That was true in the Philippines and in West Africa, and from other research I’ve done that’s true throughout really all the world, and not just the Third World.” This, says hartigan, is where his life’s work begins. “I’ve devoted my life to some extent to trying first to understand and live with the people in the culture and to try to play the music of their culture with integrity and bring it back here and share it with people,” he said. “I always perform with a West African master drummer, because I don’t feel like I can represent the culture. I want to share it with people through performance, teaching and whatever writing I do. And whatever income I receive from some of those endeavors I share it with the master artist or with the people. I bring it back to the villages I go to. I try to help with clothing and education or medicine. “In other words, I try not to just go to a culture as the colonialists did and extract things, but I try to give back something. So when I go to Africa every summer I teach as well, because I think the best thing you can give people are not the material things, even though they have these glaring material needs. It’s always a very lopsided transaction, however. They give me and teach me infinitely more than I can give them, and I feel very humbled every time I go and return.” Accompanying hartigan at his Berkshire Museum performance will be Richard Harper, David Bindman and Wes Brown. Pianist Harper has performed with Frank Foster, Sam Rivers, Lena Horne and Smokey Robinson, and has toured extensively overseas. Saxophonist Bindman formerly taught at Bennington (Vt.) College, and has performed with such musicians as Anthony Braxton, Fred Ho, Talking Drums and Bill Dixon. Wes Brown has performed and recorded with Bill Barron, Anthony Braxton, Marion Brown, Anthony Davis and Earl “Fatha” Hines. Brown and Bindman also appear on Hartigan’s recording, ”Blood Drum Spirit.”

Seth Rogovoy

_____________________-

2a) from the Echo, saint Michael’s College newspaper, 2/16/05-

royal hartigan Ensemble brings unique musical and cultural experience to St. Michael’s College A week of jazz, African drumming, world music and civil rights Sounds of African drumming, tribal chants and jazz rhythms filled McCarthy Arts Center during a week-long visit from the royal hartigan Ensemble. St. Michael’s College hosted the group from Feb. 4 through Feb. 11. The ensemble has performed allover the United States, from California to New York City. Their repertoire consists of a combination of jazz and world music, including a taste of African drumming from Ghana. Over the course of the week, the ensemble held workshops and lectured in music classes. They also performed a concert in McCarthy Recital Hall and at the Ash Wednesday Mass in the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel with the liturgical choir. Members of the royal hartigan ensemble include: royal hartigan, percussionist; Wes Brown, bass player; David Bindman, tenor saxophonist; Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, master drummer from Ghana; and Art Hirahara, pianist. hartigan is a 1968 graduate of the college. He earned his Ph.D. from Wesleyan University and is currently a professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The members of the group met at Wesleyan University in 1983 and, from there, began to travel throughout New York City, Chicago, New Orleans and the San Francisco Bay area. Returning to St. Michael’s is a very emotional experience for hartigan. “It’ s like being home,” hartigan says. “1 feel a very genuine openness; a real sense of community. The history of jazz One of the classes the ensemble guest lectured in was Professor Paul LeClair’s History of Jazz class. The ensemble discussed the early beginnings of jazz music, New Orleans jazz rhythms, ragtime and traditional African drumming from Ghana as well as the history of African music, including spirituals, work songs and sorrow songs. They also touched on modern jazz and the blues. “We love doing this kind of stuff because it allows us to be who we are. It’s great to be able to perform and do what we love,” hartigan says. “I think royal is one of the best jazz musicians in the scene today,” LeClair says. LeClair was also fortunate enough to play with the band during his History of Jazz class. “It was a thrill,” LeClair says. “Any time you get a chance to play with professional musicians, it’s just wonderful. It’s a learning experience and it’s something that you don’t get to do every day.” Senior Lakora Salih is in the History of Jazz class that the ensemble worked with. “I respect their craft,” she says. Sophomore Mike Germano, a member of the concert band and jazz band says the Royal hartigan ensemble worked with the jazz band too. Germano took private lessons with Bindman a few times during the group’s visit. “Both the jazz and the African drumming are really amazing,” Germano says “royal hartigan has a real variety of talents. It’s surprising how he can make the hardest things seem so simple.” Salih says she saw the group when they were at St. Michael’s a couple of year ago. “I’m impressed each time I see them,” she says. III really enjoy watching royal and the rest of the band members, and I learn something new from them every time.” This is the fifth year that the ensemble has been toSt. Michael’s. IIIt’s a pleasure to have this experience in my class,” Salih says. I’m pleased to be able to have a presence like this on the St. Michael’s campus.” hartigan and his ensemble gave a public performance on Thursday, Feb. 10, in the McCarthy Recital Hall. Despite the bad weather that night, people still braved the snow to listen to the talented group of musicians. “I thought the concert was fantastic,” says LeClair. LeClair says the ensemble provided a unique experience for everyone. “Their message was very very powerful,” he says. “Every single one of them dedicated their time to students who wanted to spend time with them.” LeClair says the music department could not take the St. Michael’s community to New York City for a musical experience, so it brought a New York City experience to St. Michael’s. “More important than the music was the personal connection,” LeClair says. “They were such role models and they really demonstrated some challenging music.” hartigan says some of the musicians that have really influenced their music include Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Duke

Ellington and Elvin Jones. One of the things hartigan says he enjoys most about performing at places like St. Michael’s is, “making the music and creating a strong and wonderful artistic experience for other people as well as interacting and connecting with other students.” hartigan says his music is about a spiritual connection. He says he wants individuals to be able to leave with a better spiritual understanding of themselves. If audience members left his performances with one thing, he says he would want them to leave having a heightened and deepened goodness in spirit about themselves.”

2b) quotes form the article above –

  from the Echo, saint Michael’s College newspaper, 2/16/05- 

royal hartigan Ensemble brings unique musical and cultural experience to St. Michael’s College A week of jazz, African drumming, world music and civil rights Sounds of African drumming, tribal chants and jazz rhythms filled McCarthy Arts Center during a week-long visit from the royal hartigan Ensemble……”I think royal is one of the best jazz musicians in the scene today,” (Music professor Paul) LeClair says. …..”Both the jazz and the African drumming are really amazing,” (student Mike) Germano says…..”royal hartigan has a real variety of talents. It’s surprising how he can make the hardest things seem so simple.” (Student Sakora) Salih says she saw the group when they were at St. Michael’s a couple of years ago. “I’m impressed each time I see them,” she says. I really enjoy watching royal and the rest of the band members, and I learn something new from them every time.” It is a pleasure to have this experience in my class,” Salih says. I’m pleased to be able to have a presence like this on the St. Michael’s campus.” LeClair says the ensemble provided a unique experience for everyone. “Their message was very very powerful,” he says. “Every single one of them dedicated their time to students who wanted to spend time with them.” LeClair says the music department could not take the St. Michael’s community to New York City for a musical experience, so it brought a New York City experience to St. Michael’s. “More important than the music was the personal connection,” LeClair says. “They were such role models and they really demonstrated some challenging music.”

……..One of the things hartigan says he enjoys most about performing at places like St. Michael’s is, “making the music and creating a strong and wonderful artistic experience for other people as well as interacting and connecting with other students.” hartigan says his music is about a spiritual connection. He says he wants individuals to be able to leave with a better spiritual understanding of themselves. If audience members left his performances with one thing, he says he would want them to leave having a heightened and deepened goodness in spirit about themselves.”

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