Global Drum Project: Global Drum Project

Grateful Dead fans probably will not recognize longtime drummer Mickey Hart's latest project, an audacious percussion tour de force blending traditional musical elements from India, South America and the Caribbean into one cohesive amalgam of modern samples, wailing vocals and other sounds. Collaborating with three other master drummers from different countries — Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo and Sikiru Adepoju — Hart succeeds in creating a highly enjoyable sound not easy to label. Global Drum Project opens with "Baba," a tune in which vocals set the beat, being followed by an array of improvised beats; at one point, the voices take over and lay out a brief but complex four-part harmony before the instruments return for a breathtaking final crescendo. "Kaluli Groove" is a lounge-like track centered on a balaphone (an early incarnation of the vibes) with short vocal samples of people speaking different tongues — a message of world unification as this country's borders tighten more and more. "Under One Groove," an ­electronic-inflected tune with strong Indian influence, begs for a dance remix by some enterprising DJ. GDP should not be taken for easy listening. Many of the tracks have a very complex groove, almost bordering on experimental, but careful listening will yield all sorts of entertaining discoveries. These four musicians have great chemistry, which will no doubt be amplified on the Cullen stage.

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