blood drum spirit – time changes

david bindman, tenor and soprano saxophone, flute/wes brown, contrabass/art hirahara, piano/royal hartigan, drum set, donno hourglass drum


disc 1

1 hits 7:16 

2 donno ntoaso 5:23

3 freedom jazz dance 7:38

4 the betrayal 4:11

5 drum solo for mr. adams/mr. mcbrowne/mr. roach/mr. jarvis/mr. blackwell 1:47
6 james and hazel 13:25

7 bewaa 7:45

8 silent spaces 2:40
9 if only……… 5:16

10 fɔntɔmfrɔm suite 7:41
11 naima 12:06

disc 2
1 circle of creation/adzohu suite 16:36

2 dancing on the drums 4:38

3 longing (a boy and a beauty) 10:44

4 penteng 1:53

5 the look 5:38 
saint louis blues suite 16:48

6 blues for mister charlie and miss ann 6:01

7 st. louis blues 10:47

8 lift every voice and sing 7:31
9 syrinx 4:56

10 high fly 7:31

Time Changes double CD release by Blood Drum Spirit February 1, 2019 
Contact: royal hartigan, 508.993.2580,; Featuring: David Bindman, tenor and soprano saxophones, Wes Brown, contrabass, royal 
hartigan, drums, Art Hirahara, piano 
On February 1, 2019, the jazz quartet Blood Drum Spirit, led by drummer royal hartigan, unveils its double CD, Time Changes. The quartet’s third double CD – the previous, BDS Live in China, was released in 2008 – coincides with the debut of the group’s award-winning documentary film We Are One: Blood Drum Spirit. 
Incorporating specific aspects of world music traditions, including Indian modes and time cycles, Chinese melodies, Native American song, and West African rhythms and melodies into original compositions, the group’s members have created a body of work and performance style that both draws on tradition and yet is on the exploratory edge of 21st century music. 
Time Changes exemplifies the group’s dedication to live performance interactions. Several of the album’s tracks incorporate West African rhythms and instruments, while others include originals by the group’s members, free improvisations, and new interpretations of jazz classics. Multi-sectional suites highlight the soloists, with dramatic shifts in rhythm and harmonic movement; free improvisations create abstract textures; time and its many permutations are explored throughout. 
Bassist Wes Brown, saxophonist David Bindman, and hartigan met at Wesleyan University in the early 1980s. Pianist Art Hirahara joined the group in 2003. Together and individually the quartet’s members have performed and conducted educational workshops around the world. 
We Are One: Blood Drum Spirit, directed by Sara Pettinella, documents the group’s decades-long journey, beginning with royal, Wes, and David studying and working with Ghanaian teachers in the USA, continuing with royal’s studies in Ghana over many years, and finally the group traveling to the same villages where royal learned many of the rhythms and songs that he had brought home for the quartet to arrange and perform. The film shows the deep historical and aesthetic connections between jazz and West African music, and by extension, with the peoples of the world. In 2017, the US State Department brought the ensemble back to Ghana to screen the film at universities and performance venues throughout the country. 
Blood Drum Spirit draws on the spirits of ancestors, on traditions passed along by teachers, and on members’ experiences across jazz’s eras and genres. The group’s name describes its mission: blood, the heart and connection we all share through the ancestors; drum, the metaphorical heartbeat/rhythm felt by all musicians, physical/psychological existence of the universe, and all people (‘if you can walk, you can dance…’ an African proverb); and spirit, transcendence toward something larger than ourselves.

Royal Hartigan & Blood Drum Spirit: Time Changes

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.

Karl Akwermann

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time changes

Title : time changes
Release Date : February 5, 2019
Label :
Format : CD