Friday, May 11, 2012

Music for Pieces of Wood - Nexus

Thanks to Patrick Boyle who sent this one my way. Here's the percussion ensemble Nexus performing the seminal Steve Reich piece "Music for Pieces of Wood":

I consider myself very fortunate to have spent some time studying and working with percussionist Russell Hartenberger (who is seen performing in the very clip above) over the years. I first met Russell in 1999 while I was participating in a long-term residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts where we worked together. Specifically we spent a great deal of time dealing with the mechanics of getting a good sound out of the drums and dealing with West African and North Indian rhythms. I've also been fortunate to work with Russell during my time at the University of Toronto while working towards my doctorate. Russell's affinity for rhythm in all it's guises is quite impressive and he's a great teacher.

Also, the group Nexus itself has always been a tremendous source of inspiration for me. My father first gave me a CD that featured a compilation of Nexus' various percussion ensemble recordings when I was in high school. I've always been impressed with their ability to combine virtuosity on their instruments with such a high level of musicianship and a deep knowledge of all things rhythm and percussion that spans the globe.

I only had the opportunity to hear Nexus perform once while I lived in Toronto but it was exceptional concert that featured a completely improvised evening of percussion ensemble music that also featured pianist David Braid and Phil Nimmons on clarinet. When you put musicians of that caliber on stage together that know how to deal with sound and space on such a high, intimate level great things are always bound to happen.

Here's a few more of the group Nexus to enjoy (I've posted a few of these before...)

This one features Steve Gadd tap dancing!

And another of Nexus featuring Gadd on drum set and Ghanian Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah in a rudimental inspired piece entitled "Duke's Lullaby":

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