Songs from the Second World
Jesse Manno, Peter Jones, Tigger Benford
Tigger Benford, Jesse Manno and Peter Jones are
well known veteran musicians in the obscure but extensive world
of music for modern dance. All of them are also known as players
and composers in other realms, but they met and first created
music together at Bates Dance Festival, held every year in Lewiston,
Maine, and the summer home of some of the most accomplished musicians
in the world in this particular specialty of music for modern
dance technique class. Their backgrounds span training in Western
classical, pop and jazz styles, as well as extensive study in
Indian and Balkan music, and quite a bit of indirect influence
from African and Middle Eastern styles, among others. Their music
never strives to imitate, but instead is a powerful and original
artistic statement that could only be made by North Americans
in the early 21st Century. All music is specific to time and
place and this music is no exception. Each musician contributed
three pieces to this CD to be infused with the other’s
influence and spice. It is intensely collaborative music and
we all hope you enjoy it very much.
Tigger Benford & The New World Drumming Group
Rhythmically charged and spacious in timing, Talamalika
captures the live energy of four hand drummers and four singers,
in a unique synthesis of World drumming traditions.
Talamalika is a set of rhythmic pieces for four
hand drummers and four singers. Each work is pulse driven throughout,
and each successive piece is built on a shorter cycle of beats,
to create a feeling of spinning inward. The pieces build gradually
and are spacious in their timing, so they are very good for dance.
Each piece is arranged for different instruments, including tabla,
kanjira, mridangam, riq, boddhran, djun djun, hadgini and dumbek.
The drumming was done live, by four players in the same room at
the same time,without overdubs, and the CD really captures the
spirit and energy and precision of fine ensemble performance on
acoustic instruments. A booklet describes the instruments in detail
The additional fine players on the CD include percussionists
Todd Isler, Glen Fittin and Martha Partridge, and singers Danon
O’Sow, Maya Azucena, Elizabeth Haselwood and Pene McCourty.
NOISE of CHOICE
This CD consists of ten works for percussion and
other instruments, divided into two sets of five pieces each.
The first five are marimba pieces and the last five are for the
quieter types of hand drums. The marimba pieces are rhythmic,
open and spatious. In spirit they draw inspiration from African
musical traditions for mbira (thumb piano), kora (double harp),
and balophone (gourd resonated xylophones). The hand drumming
pieces feature a variety of sounds, including tabla, spaghetti
pot, water bottle, and many more. Vocalist Phillip Hamilton and
guitarist Mark Stewart, now with Paul Simon’s band, make
wonderful contributions as well.
The Metal Garden
Benford & Jones
METAL GARDEN is 20 duets for prepared piano and
percussion, with additional tracks by violinist Sam Bardfeld and
reed player Bruce Huron. It is a collaborative CD, produced by
Benford and pianist Peter Jones.
One of the CDs most unique aspects is the range
of tonal colors produced by the combination of prepared piano
(acoustic piano altered by the placement of objects in the strings),
and the scoffolded percussion set up of cymbals, bells, gongs,
drums and various wooden instruments. Benford and Jones have a
particularly developed sense of rapport when they play together,
which will be immediately apparent to the listener in these edited,
The pieces on the CD range from lyrical to abstract,
and from spatious and calm to driving and intense. The works are
carefully ordered to carry the listener on a fascinating, satisfying
journey through a rich and gorgeous garden of sound.
Fluctuating Hemlines is a 30 minute drumming score
for five percussionists, commissioned by ballet choreographer
Septime Webre. The theme of the dance is the animalistic nature
of humans beneath the veneer of civilized behavior, and the sexy,
driving drumming did a lot to bring this point across. It has
been presented live with the ballet for 14 dancers with the Washington
Ballet, the American Repertory Ballet Theatre at the Joyce Theatre
in New York City, the Dayton Ballet, Ballet Austin, and twice
with the Sacramento Ballet, as well as being presented in recorded
form with innumerable ballet companies around the US. This recording
is a live performance with the Sacramento Ballet in 1999. The
five drummer/percussionists are Todd Isler, Rex Benincasa, Martha
Partridge, N. Scott Robinson and Tigger Benford.