Ryan Drolet

Trippin' Wet

RD Records, Canada

Hailing from British Columbia, Ryan Drolet's quartet may help you out if you're getting antsy for the next John Scofield release. As in Scofield's recent jamband-influenced CDs, it takes a while to get into this because the music is so rhythmic.

You have to allow yourself to subsume. Once you get past Tim Proznick's unadorned drumwork (as I've said before about jamband architecture, it's the music's R&B component), you'll start to hear some very off-the-wall accents and filigrees from Dan Graham's keys, especially his piano work on "Rubber Band."

Some pretty out figures are displayed there, not the shock that Mike Garson's free statement in the middle bit of David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" was in 1973, but close. Drolet does not play as far behind the beat as Scofield will, but he has a similar rippling style and he edits himself in a related fashion.

Some Wes Montgomery-shaded meditations further liven up the snappy "Amian" (to which Graham answers with Fender Rhodes and e-dulcimer) while "Modus Operandi" has Drolet playing an electric duck (or so it sounds) in a hooky, swaggering mood.

Brad Ferguson's bass cements it all together, bubbling a little too low in the mix for my taste but no great problem there. Due to the echoplexed melody for "A Minor Jam," Ferguson's terse patterns are as tuneful as anybody else is here, and his swoops during the chiming "Spy Song" will bring on a minor attack of head-nodding in time. You won't get lost.

Yeah, this isn't a reinvention of the Panjandrum wheel, but it's good fun.

By Kenneth.Egbert