Review: Emotional Rescue is delighted to present a collection of works by the founding father of the modern drum movement, Glen Velez. Collated from his first 3 solo albums from 1985 to 1989, Sweet Season is a snapshot in to the pioneering composing and performance of this four-time Grammy winner. Born in 1949, of Mexican American ancestry, Velez grew up in Texas before moving to New York in 1967. Playing jazz on the drums he soon gravitated to hand drums from around the world (frame drums in particular), seeking out teachers from many different musical traditions.
Among the many instruments Velez favours are the Irish bodhran, the Brazilian pandeiro, the Arabic riq, the North African bendir and the Azerbaijani ghaval. Although these instruments are similar in construction they have their own playing techniques that open new possibilities.
Sweet Season highlights this vocabulary, mixing and adapting techniques from various cultures to develop new ones. The music, often composed as cross-cultural ensembles, has a particular fondness for polyrhythms - superimposing different meters simultaneously - while incorporating Stepping Split-tone and Central Asian Overtone singing to complete the global horizons.
This new genre of contemporary drumming has been hugely influential and seen Velez work with the likes of John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as teaching his virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques to many emerging players.