Gustavo Aguilar
Dreaming with Serpents
Acoustic Levitation (1001)

Gustavo Aguilar, percussion; Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet; John Bergamo, percussion; Todd Sickafoose, bass

Aguilar's improvising is percussion-driven, sometimes centering on a shifting mood reliant on tone-producing percussion instruments, used as support for wordless vocals, or the aggressively brassy rantings of Smith. The music plays to the gut rather than the head, which give it something in common with early swing. But the listener had better like whacking on the skins since lengthy portions of the disc are drum solos of one sort or another. Don't know if Aguilar and company would appreciate their music being called primitive, but from this writer's perspective, the group's albums and previous work with dance companies feed something more visceral than what hard-bop reaches.

by Dave McElfresh

New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000