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Pete Lockett’s Network of Sparks
featuring Bill Bruford

Summerfold Records

Bill Bruford has retired from performance to run a record company, and this is one of the results: a re-release of an obscure 1999 recording featuring Pete Lockett’s percussion group Network of Sparks. My iTunes player tells me that this is jazz, and it certainly does contain generous amounts of improvisation, but with its use of instruments and rhythms from a variety of cultures, this is truly world music.

The CD gets off to a thunderous start with Bruford’s “Conundrum,” featuring
Lockett on Japanese drums and Bruford on gong drum. Some may have heard this piece at 1990s King Crimson concerts. Lockett’s “Travel Light” falls between minimailism and African music and features Simon Limbrick’s marimba and Lockett’s tabla, talking drum, and vibes. Bruford takes the lead on a spirited performance of Max Roach’s “Self Portrait,” accompanied by dumbek, djembe, and darabuka. Inspired by Glen Velez, “Voices Apart” is a tour-de-force solo vehicle for Lockett on frame drum, tar, konnakol, and shakers along with South Indian vocal syllables.

“Complex Transactions” takes its name from the tension created by the musicians playing in seven and four simultaneously. Limbrick’s vibes are the dominant voice through most of the piece, backed by a variety of drums and percussion instruments. “Groove Oddity” is an Indian-flavored duet between Bruford on drumset and Lockett mostly on tabla with other percussion overdubbed. “Lumina” is all about long tones with bowed
vibraphone, gong, and electronically effected percussion textures.

 “Irreversible Blue” is another solo showcase for Lockett, this time on kanjira backed by effected samples that give the piece an ethereal quality. Pierre Favre’s “Prism” is an energetic romp through mutations of a phrase, featuring solos by Bruford on drumset and Lockett on bongos. “Full On II” brings the disc to a rousing end and features Johnny Kalsi on dhol and an
atmospheric coda.

This is a superb collection of drum and percussion pieces, played with spirit and finesse by a group of players who were obviously feeding off of each other.

—Rick Mattingly




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