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

This fine double cd starts with strong hard swinging hard bop and then moves through a variety of cultures or influences. Both Kevin’s guitar and David’s tenor sax have strong, warm, well-worn tones. …..inspired by the Asante people of Ghana on “Wadsworth Falls”, ….. it sounds like a solid, straight jazz burner. “Dagbamba” is a dreamy, spiritual sax/bass/drums trio piece inspired by West African drummers with the hypnotic, organic rhythm at the center. The “Pilipinas Suite” features Royal playing kulintang…..from the Philippines, with David on flute. It takes us on an enchanting journey through the sights and sounds of Manila, with tenor sax serenading us. “Tala Vadyam” is based on a South Indian rhythmic cycle and is another wonderful, cerebral work. Disc 2 is called the ‘Apartheid USA Suite” and each part features rhythms 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! 

By Jan P. Dennis on January 29, 2004

Format: Audio CD

Why has this spectacular, revelatory music . . .. . . languished in record vaults for more than a decade?
Never mind why. Who can figure out the vagaries and vicissitudes of the contemporary jazz scene?
Not me.

Let’s just be thankful that the McKnight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts somehow found out about this incredible music and helped bring it to light.

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.

By Karl Akermann, All about jazz, 2010

 Good things sometimes fly under the radar; sometimes they are great things. This has never been more the case than with Royal Hartigans’s Blood Drum Spirit, a jazz masterpiece that has languished in obscurity since its 1993 recording to its eventual 2004 release. 

It remains largely unrecognized six years later. Jazz, especially in the US, can be almost religiously hierarchical and introducing an unknown quantity to the ranks of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, or Anthony Braxton may well be viewed as profane or pretentious. However, the benefit to fans of good music outweighs the potential backlash. This qualifies as a classic desert island, end of the world as we know it, entry. 

Hartigan is jazz Renaissance man. An author, educator, and student/teacher of world music, he has incorporated the sounds, native instruments, and cultural nuances of West Africa and Southeast Asia into a two-disc collection where the emphasis is strongly toward jazz rather than the world music that subtly influences it. Like Collin Walcott‘s earlier efforts, Cloud Dance (ECM, 1976) and Grazing Dreams (ECM, 1977), Hartigan has found that elusive ground that emphasizes the pure innovative nature of jazz without excluding the unique attributes of the cultures Hartigan has closely studied and been influenced by. Some time back, Esbjorn Svensson Trio was dubbed the “future of jazz.” Had Royal Haritgan been known at that time, he may have deservedly shared the mantle.

If Blood Drum Spirit has a centerpiece, it is “Eve,” a 28-plus minute epic composed of solo, duo, trio, and quartet formats that easily flow into and out of each phase. Suffice to say, “Eve” is worth the price of admission. In many ways it represents the democratic nature of Hartigan’s collective style and world philosophy. Guitarist Kevin McNeal’s deceptively simple chords and David Bindman’s opening saxophone sets a bluesy pace that carries throughout. By the time Wes Brown’s bass and Hartigan’s kit transition into a rhythmic African extended duo, a hypnotic effect has established itself and it is not easily broken. QUOTE[[[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.]]]

To single out tracks is counter-productive here; this is a work of symphonic structure. Hartigan’s quartet exerts equal effort and finesse across the spectrum of tunes here and selectivity would be nitpicking as the work that builds and develops across the entire program. Each band member is given more than ample opportunity to solo and in every case they are stellar performances. Why Royal Hartigan is unfamiliar to many jazz fans is a subject for another debate. What is clear is that Blood Drum Spirit is a collection that will endure for many years to come.

Track listing: Blood Drum Spirit; Wadsworth Falls; Dagomba; Pilipinas Suite; Solog; Pilipinas; Solog; Caravan; Tala Vadyam; Apartheid Usa Suite; Adzohu; Juba Handclaps; Rodney King Drums; Double Trouble; Adzohu Rodney King Drums; Double Trouble; Navajo Blood/Pontoosuc Waters/Springside Lands; Tie Me Sufre (Teah May Sufray); Papago-Saguaro Song; Eve (Eh Vay). 

Personnel: David Bindman: woodwinds; Kevin McNeal: guitar; Wes Brown: bass; Royal Hartigan: drums, cymbals, and rattles.

FROM INNOVA RECORDS LISTINGS –

One Sheet:

Ancestors is the story of royal hartigan’s personal and global family, enshrined in music, poetry, tap-dancing and reminiscences. This diverse collection is united in his own existence and musical pathways. He writes:

I began working on our Ancestors double compact disc after the death of my mother, who was the last person in my immediate family to pass away, leaving only myself to continue on life’s paths.

It occurred to me that most of us have people in our families or meet on our journeys for whom we have a deep bond. Their departure in my view makes them all ancestors, and this album is to honor these forebears, with my personal experiences as one gateway to an expression for us all in the human family.

In a parallel way, the paths of world cultures from ancient times to the present are the ancestors of the world’s family on its journey through time and space. My idea is to express that heritage through traditional and cross cultural compositions and improvisations.

We have recorded a diverse group of duets, trios, quartets, and solos that center on my work with master artists from global cultures and cross cultural styles: West African master drummer C. K. Ladzekpo, Philippine kulintang master Danongan Kalanduyan, Chinese guzheng artist Weihua Zhang, African American vocalist Baomi, Persian American saxophonist and flutist Hafez Modirzadeh, violinists Sandra Poindexter and Yu Fuhua, banjoist Timothy Volpicella, Japanese shakuhachi artist Masaru Koga, and Philippine percussionist Conrad Benedicto. I contribute percussion, drumset, piano, and tap dance to this musical story.

The music here does not fit a single commercial category. Its genesis and final form are based on the deepest feel and sense my musical colleagues and I have of life, death, remembrance, loss, and transcendence.

Our music attempts to bring our ancestors to life and speak to a universal human condition we all share. We hope you are moved by our music.

Murray Gusseck, TapSpace Publishers

Reviews:

These two releases present a lot to take in. Both are double CD sets and in both cases the styles of music presented 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]]]…mainly because he is playing by his own set of rules. And the rules are obviously rather loose and unpredictable. Hartigan is a percussionist whose interests and influences spread all over the map and back. On these double disc sets, Hartigan plays with whomever he happens to be with at the time…and plays whatever style of music happens to be the weapon of choice at any particular moment. As such, 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. And we would bet that Royal gets a major rush out of delving into such diverse terrain. As we mentioned earlier, there is a lot to take in here. Ancestors presents a whopping 34 tracks while Blood Drum Spirit boasts 17. This is probably too diverse and odd for the casual listener. But our guess is that more esoteric music fans will really appreciate this wildly inventive stuff…

(Rating: 5) 

Review of ancestors, by karl ackermann

 On paper, combining the musical influences of West Africa, America and Asia can appear a bit overwhelming. That’s not the case at all on Royal Hartigan’s Ancestors. The pianist/percussionist’s trilogy—Blood Drum Spirit (Innova, 2004), Blood Drum Spirit Live in China (Innov a, 2008), and now Ancestors—reflects a universal viewpoint without being neatly categorized as world music. Jazz is pervasive throughout this collection, and the various musical ethnicities serve as reminders of where the genre came from and where it could go.

Ancestors was born out of Hartigan’s sense of loss. It is a catharsis without closure and an acutely personal exploration of life, death, afterlife and, mostly, family, in the immediate and universal sense. “Flight/Homecoming” opens the set with saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh covering a spectrum of emotions including keening a brief mourning. Baomi’s wordless vocal improvisation continues the theme of movement and transition, before Modirzadeh returns to transport the vocalist to a spoken word suite reaffirming the continuous cycle of life beyond the physical form. Throughout this opening segment, Hartigan alternately augments and drives the music, using bells, dondo, bass drum and hi hat before moving to piano.

Within the two-disc set, Hartigan’s own family emerges as a Greek Chorus. A poem by his grandfather is carried by Sandra Poindexter’s poignant violin work, while Hartigan’s tap danced “Waltz Clog” is a tribute to both his uncle and mother and in a much lighter vein. Pop standards of past generations, as well as Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto,” appear as favorites of Hartigan’s parents, adding personal insight in the midst of more multicultural styles. Hartigan’s piano brings to mind Jelly Roll Morton on “Hazel’s Dance” and “Five Foot Two.”

Haritgan is masterful at tying complex themes into a story, but more than that he brilliantly conveys human emotion through the music. Ancestors accepts sadness and loss as a reality, but also celebrates ongoing rebirth and treats time as an elastic continuum. Musically, he manages to incorporate instruments and styles as diverse as stride piano, Turkish bendir and Chinese zither in a collected work that is both universal and tangible at the same time. Ancestors is a blend of musicology and genealogy that is quite unique and memorable.

Track listing: CD1: Flight/Homecoming; Passages; Three Views; Hazel’s Dance; Guanshan Yue; James Eagle Eye; La Vie En Rose/All to Myself/Soliloquy; Waltz Clog; Tenderly; Tatao; The Shadow of Your Smile; Cycles; Railroad Banjo To My Heart; Our Family; You’ll Never Know Just How Much I Love You; Adzohu Kadodo Reflections. CD2: Hazel’s Dance: Orphan Annie; Midnight Sun; Ray Hart; Parting Veil; Syrinx; We’ll Be Together Again; New York Rhythm; Meng Jiang Nu; It Had To Be You; Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto In D Major/Midnight; In Moscow; Hanabi; I Know I’ve Been Changed; Tenderly; Dondo–Tap Conversation For Frank, Edward, Mary & Richie Hartigan; Divine Trance; Five Foot Two; Through The Light; Walking Step. 

Personnel: Baomi: vocals and narrative poetry; Conrad Benedicto: philippine dabakan drum; yu fuhua: violin; Danongan Kalanduyan: philippine kulintang gongs; Masaru Koga: japanese shakuhachi flute; C. K. Ladzekpo: west african e e atsime u master drum, dondo hourglass drum; Hafez Modirzadeh; soprano and tenor saxophones, persian ney flute, and western flute; Sandra Poindexter: violin; Timothy Volpicella: banjo; Weihua Zhang: chinese guzheng zither; Royal Hartigan: bells, percussion, piano, tap dance, turkish bendir frame drum, axatse gourd rattle, dondo hourglass drum, drum set.

Review of live in china double cd by Karl Ackermann

Recorded on Beijing, Blood Drum Spirit: Royal Hartigan Ensemble Live in China is the third of a trilogy, but includes changes from the original studio namesake. Guitarist Kevin McNeal is replaced by pianist Art Hirahara, giving the quartet a bit more punch. The first Blood Drum Spirit (Innova, 2004) entry consisted almost entirely of original compositions, other than a snippet of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan.” This two-disc live set features covers by artists including Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie. What remains consistent through the entire trilogy is that drummer Hartigan’s work is always an interesting historical investigation of ethnic musical influences as a means of expression.

Ethnicity aside, Live in China is the most straight-ahead jazz collection in the trilogy. Much of this due to Hirahara and saxophonist David Bindman—each contributing a number of tracks and providing a strong presence throughout. At almost seventeen minutes, the set opens with Bindman’s “Crisis in (Now’s the) Time,” which changes time signatures and styles, as well as featuring an extended solo from Hartigan. This is followed by a medley of “Flowing Stream/Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” where a traditional Chinese song and Mingus’ tribute to Lester Young both feel at home with each other, thanks to Hafez Modirzadeh’s arrangement.

Hartigan’s arrangement of Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia,” opening with a solo from bassist Wes Brown, is faster than the original, features elements of rumba and swing and solos from everyone in the group. The 21-minute “Dreamsfireswaking/Invitation” opens and closes with drum solos over a group vamp. Again, there are frequent changes in time and style, as the piece shifts from a relaxed pace to swing to West African and, once again, back to an Afro-Cuban rumba style. Hartigan and Bindman perform a duet before the saxophonist takes a solo and the group then rounds things out. It is the kind of complex setting at which this group excels.

As he has demonstrated in all of his recordings to date, Hartigan is a musical explorer not content to repeatedly cover familiar ground. Blood Drum Spirit: Royal Hartigan Ensemble Live in China incorporates the sounds of South India on “Gati Shadows Within,” Ghana on “Asante Adowa,” and free improvisation on “Threads.” It all works well due to the drummer’s innate ability to cohesively arrange diverse musical attributes. Hartigan’s depth of insight adds to the understanding of worldwide musical relations. The performers are excellent, the music creative, and the experience top tier.

Track listing: CD1: Crisis In (Now’s the) Time; Flowing Stream/Goodbye Porkpie Hat; Threads; In a Sentimental Mood; A Night in Tunisia; Song for Your Return; Dreamfireswaking/Invitation. CD2: Anlo Kete; Peace, Unknown; Gati Shadows Within; High Definition Truth; Oleo; Hazel Clark Asante Adowa/ Generations Suite; Owl’s Nightmare; We’ll Be Together Again; Tenderly.

Personnel: David Bindman: tenor saxophone; Wes Brown: bass; Art Hirahara: piano; Royal Hartigan: drums.

review of time changes Richard B. Kamins , Step Tempest

Creative music should challenge us, make us think and move us forward. Music can make one’s life better and fuller, one of life’s greatest pleasures.

I first met percussionist, trap drummer, composer, and educator royal hartigan (he’s always spelled his name sans capital letters) in the 1980s when he was working towards his Masters degree and PhD in world music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.  This was after he had studied at University of Massachusett/ Amherst where his instructors included Max Roach, Archie Shepp, and Reggie Workman.  While at Wesleyan, he studied with and played alongside teachers such as Bill Barron, Bill Lowe, master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, Ed Blackwell, and noted ethnomusicologist David McAllester.  He often played in the Student Union with visiting artists and other students including saxophonist David Bindman and bassist Wes Brown.

hartigan went on to teach in New York City and San Jose State University, finally returning east to join the music faculty of UMASS/Dartmouth.  He also has played with numerous artists including Kenny Barron, Clifford Jarvis, Fred Ho’s Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Dakshina ensemble, and vocalist Dominique Eade. He also performed West African music alongside percussionist Martin Kwaakye Obeng, Helen Abena Mensah, and so many others here in the United Staes as well as in Ghana.  He, along Bindman and Brown, became the royal hartigan ensemble and, along with guitarist Kevin McNeal recorded “Blood Drum Spirit” in 1993, released on CD in 2004 on Innova Recordings.  The group added pianist Art Hirahara in 2003 and he  appeared on 2008’s “Live In China” (also on Innova).

Time Changes“, the group’s third album and first to be credited to just Blood Drum Spirit, came out early in 2019. It’s a sprawling two-CD set with 21 songs spread over 161+ minutes.  With this much music, one is initially overwhelmed – you’ll see that four of the pieces are over ten minutes long, six more are over seven minutes, and the rest range from 1:52 to 6 minutes.  Where to begin?  Start with track one, “Hits.”  The song literally introduces the band with the bass and percussion leading the way while the percussive piano plays beneath the tenor saxophone melody.  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 before the pianist enters ushered by a wave of cymbal splashes.  One can hear influences of West African and Latin music in the rhythms and the early 60s John Coltrane Quartet in the energy and in the searching.  Before the song comes to its close, everyone has had a chance to solo.

That leads into “Donna Ntoaso“, Hartigan’s talking drum and steady high-hat accompanied by a bluesy piano. Soon, the bass is setting a pace alongside the drummer and the tenor sax is building the melody.  Note how the tempo changes as Hirahara steps out.  The talking drum is in constant conversation with the bass and the soloists: the listener probably does not notice he or she are getting carried away by the exuberance of the music and its creators. 

As you continue through the program, you’ll note that there are five solo drums tracks.  First up is “Drum Solo for Clifford Brown/Lenny McBrowne/Max Roach/Clifford Jarvis/Ed Blackwell“, a short (1:45) dance around the trap set.  Next up is the “Fomtomfrom Suite” – four times as long as the first solo, hartigan sets up a hypnotic rhythm on his drums that hearkens back to his love for West African music. Basically, he’s using three parts of his kit; the tom, a ride cymbal, and bass drum. Later in the piece, he adds the high hat but the music rarely varies. The appropriately-titled “Dancing on the Drums” is a hard-edged rhythmic romp (on brushes, no less).  “Penteng” is short (1:52) but it rolls forward with an immediacy and excitement that is so attractive.  The final solo piece is “Blues For Mister Charlie and Miss Ann“: One might think that the piece is dedicated to Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy (one of his pieces had the title “Miss Ann“) – in actuality, the piece is inspired by author and playwright James Baldwin and is the drummer’s dedication to the Black victims of police violence. The piece is also inspired by Max Roach’s “Triptych: Prayer, Protest, Peace” from his landmark 1960 album “We Insist: Freedom Now Suite.”

That last piece closes with a martial beat on the snare which leads into the next track, a 10 minute-plus exploration of W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues.”  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.  After a powerful bass solo, Hirahara steps out with a barroom piano solo before the band returns and the piece goes in a slightly different direction. Suddenly, the tempo shifts once again, more of a Latin feel, and the piece picks up speed.

CD 1 closes with a long exploration of Coltrane’s “Naima“, a piece with a series of strong solos and mood changes, talking drums and dancing piano riffs, bouncing bass and lovely solos from Hirahara and Bindman (tenor sax).  CD 2 opens with the longest track on the program.  “Circle of Creation/Adzohu Suite” is 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 If you listen closely, you can really hear the interactions and connection of the rhythm section.  Brown and hartigan have worked together for over three decades: they support each other, prod each other, and listen to the rest of the band.  Bindman has been along for all those years and he, too, shares a special musical relationship.  The pianist is the “new guy”, 15 years, yet he, too, is an integral member of this working unit.

Time Changes” refers to the different rhythms throughout this highly listenable album.  Also, 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.

For more information, to listen, and to purchase), go to royalhartigan.bandcamp.com/releases. Check out the band’s website – www.blooddrumspirit.com – for even more information. That will lead you to the documentary “We Are One“, a movie about the quartet’s trip to Ghana to teach, to collaborate with local musicians, and to connect and reconnect with master musicians and dancers. That can be found at www.weareonethemovie.com.

review of time changes
 by Karl Ackermann

Drummer, pianist, and composer, Royal Hartigan, first encountered bassist Wes Brown and saxophonist David Bindman at Wesleyan University. The three were instrumental in the early development of the Ghanaian-American group Talking Drums and recorded Blood Drum Spirit (Innova) in 1993 with Kevin McNeal on guitar. The ensemble’s follow up, Blood Drum Spirit: Royal Hartigan Ensemble Live in China—also on Innova—was not released until 2008, when pianist Art Hirahara had replaced McNeal. Time Changes is Hartigan’s fourth double-CD as a leader and his third with the Blood Drum Spirit ensemble.

Hartigan’s ties to the drumming culture of West Africa are indestructible. So too are his bonds to the people he has lived with on and off for years; people who have experienced famine, homelessness and the genocide in their post-colonial struggle for self-determination. The music of the region reflects circumstances that encompass everyday tasks, ceremony, simple pleasures, and ongoing pain.

The inspirations of West Africa are felt in the traditional rhythmic creations “Bewaa” and “Circle of Creation/Adzohu Suite” based on the dance drumming of the Dagara and Ewe peoples of the region. The quartet puts very unique spins on standards such as Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance,” John Coltrane’s “Naima,” “St. Louis Blues ” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” It’s always a pleasure to hear Hartigan solo, and on Time Changes the master drummer takes over on five tracks—”Drum Solo for Mr. Adams, Mr. McBrowne, Mr. Roach, Mr. Jarvis,” “Fontomfrom Suite,” “Dancing on the Drums,” “Penteng” and “Blues for Mister Charlie and Miss Ann.”

Whether the band is covering classics, improvising original pieces, or interpreting the drum dancing music, the aesthetic is almost always rooted in West Africa. “We Are One!” is a companion piece movie that goes behind the scenes with the group, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and in Ghana. A dance teacher in the Asanti region relates “You cannot detach our dances from who we are, the dances tell a story. The dance itself is the culture.” Time Changes relates those stories, in a variety of styles, and is compelling listening throughout. 

Track Listing: Disc 1: Hits; Donno Ntoaso; Freedom Jazz Dance; The Betrayal; Drum Solo for Mr. Adams, Mr. McBrowne, Mr. Roach, Mr. Jarvis, Mr. Blackwell; James and Hazel; Bewaa; Silent Spaces; If Only………; Fontomfrom Suite; Naima. Disc 2: Circle of Creation / Adzohu Suite; Dancing on the Drums; Longing (A Boy and a Beauty); Penteng; The Look; Blues for Mister Charlie and Miss Ann; St. Louis Blues; Lift Every Voice and Sing; Syrinx; High Fly.

Personnel: David Bindman: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Wes Brown: contrabass; Art Hirahara: piano; Royal Hartigan: drum set, donno, hourglass drum.

review of we are one film by john pietario - The New York City Kazz Record |June 2019

We Are One – Blood Drum Spirit

(A film by Sara Pettinella)

By John Pietaro

(page 37) Royal Hartigan is a most vocal proponent of world music traditions. A professor in Ethnomusicology at Dartmouth, the drummer-percussionist’s history extends to post-graduate study at Wesleyan where he focused on African, Native American and Indian drumming. Earlier, at Amherst, Hartigan concentrated on African American music with close tutelage under Ed Blackwell and coursework with Max Roach and Archie Shepp. The amalgam was a uniquely expansive view of jazz and improvisation. Hartigan performed and recorded with the late saxophonist/activist Fred Ho for decades. His own vehicle, Blood Drum Spirit, is featured in this powerful new documentary directed by filmmaker and photographer Sarah Pettinella. Saxophonist David Bindman, another Wesleyan alumnus fusing world traditions with new music, founded the Brooklyn Saxophone Quartet with Ho. Pianist Art Hirahara and bassist Wes Brown were Ho band members. If there is a central fixture here, it is the late baritone saxophonist and his commitment to social justice via Asian and African culture and the voices of the oppressed. 

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” and as soon as he had the opportunity to do so, brought the band to Ghana. The quartet traveled to multiple African villages, first meeting with the elders and sharing in food, dance and traditional music before they brought out a drum set, electric keyboard, electric bass and saxophone. Pettinella caught beautiful moments with village master musicians and average citizens alike. Scenes of the quartet jamming with locals and traveling throughout Ghana are interspersed with profiles of each of the four including clips of them at home and a wonderful segment of Hartigan tap dancing. There are also interviews with global artists such as dancer Joann Thompson and master musician, dancer and international speaker Kwabena Boateng.

The latter summed up the film’s core in two sentences: “Music can change the world. And I think it’s already done it.” For more information, visit weareonethemovie.com. This project is at Flatlands Reformed Church Jun. 2nd. See Calendar.

(page 40) JUNE 2019 | THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD calendar

Sunday, June 2

êVic Juris Trio with Jay Anderson, Adam Nussbaum55Bar 6 pm•Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble with Jonathan Ball, Aaron Dutton, Mike Caudill, Rick DiMuzio, Tyler Burchfield, Jeff Holmes, Yuta Yamaguchi, Eric Smith, Doug Olsen, Clayton DeWalt, Randy Pingrey, Bulut Gulen, Angel Subero, Nando Michelin, Kevin Grudecki, Ryan Fedak, Keala Kaumeheiwa, Bertram LehmannBirdland 5:30 pm $30•JazzyBIT: Holger Marjamaa Trio with Raviv Markovitz, Joe PeriBlue Note 11:30 am 1:30 pm $39.50êKenny GarrettBlue Note 8, 10:30 pm $35•The Georgia Horns: Chris Crenshaw, Marcus Printup, Stantawn Kendrick, Kenny Banks, Jr., Kevin Smith, Brandon McCraeDizzy’s Club 7:30, 9:30 pm $40•Giacomo Merega, Josh Sinton, Todd Neufeld; Urs Leimgruber soloDowntown Music Gallery 6, 7 pm•Cora Suvi, Cat Toren, Florian Herzog; Ourida/Jeff Miles; Irina ZubarevaEl Barrio Artspace 7 pm $10•Terry Waldo’s Gotham City Band; Jade Synstelien’s Fat Cat Big BandFat Cat 6, 8:30 pm $10ê

Blood Drum Spirit: Royal Hartigan, David Bindman, Wes Brown, Art Hirahara and guest Kwabena Boateng Flatlands Reformed Church 3 pm

êFred Hersch/Sullivan FortnerJazz Standard 7:30, 9:30 pm $35•Tyler Blanton, Drew Gress, Johnathan BlakeMezzrow 7:30 pm $20•Paul Jost Trio with Jim RidlNorth Square Lounge 12:30, 2 pm•Louise Rogers/Mark Kross Renaissance Harlem 6 pm•Marcus Persiani, Donald Nicks, TC IIIRussian Samovar 3 pm•Nadje NoordhuisSaint Peter’s Church 6 pm•Kazuki Yamanaka Group with Ben Monder, Dana Saul, Kenneth Jimenez, Stephen BoegeholdScholes Street Studio 8 pm $25•Split Cycle: Samuel Blais, Nicolas Letman-Burtinovic, Aki Ishiguro and guest Jamie Baum ShapeShifter Lab 9 pm $10•Shrine Big BandShrine 8 pm•Marianne Solivan Quintet with Evan Francis, Joshua Richman, Gregg August, E.J. Strickland; Bruce Harris Quintet with Ehud Asherie, Grant Stewart, Aaron Seeber Smalls 7:30, 10:30 pm $20•Bill Stevens Songbook with Corey Larson, Paul PricerTomi Jazz 7 pm•Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet with Jason Rigby, Shai Maestro, Chris MorrisseyVillage Vanguard 8:30, 10:30 pm $

quotes from review (the review and quotes can also be used in the royalhart.com website):

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.”

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