Exposé Online banner

Gregg Bendian — Research (Tiny Useful Secrets)
(Aggregate Music AGCD005, 2008, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2009-07-01

Research (Tiny Useful Secrets) Cover artThe challenge for a compositional drummer is for the solo percussionist to be consistently engaging to the listener. Dedicating each of the pieces to a specific personal influence helps create a passageway to confront the furious playing Bendian has been known to espouse. Master tabla player Zakir Hussain is called upon in the opening cut with a furious display of toms and bottles where the impact is on the performers’ phrasing rather than a clear song construct. The most interesting classical composer chosen is Charles Ives, put across in “Danbury,” where bowed vibes and glockenspiel give an unsettled ambient texture that works. In contrast, the most musical track on the disc is for solo marimba linked to classic jazz drummer Red Norvo. Probably the noisiest piece for solo snare is “For Steve McCall” while “Mixture” sounds like something King Crimson 74 could have dreamed up. Compared to other all-percussion efforts such as those by Terry Bozzio, Bill Bruford or Stewart Copeland, Bendian’s focus is laying bare individual traits that have both informed the drummer’s mindset as well as pushed him forward to explore jointly rhythmic and melodic possibilities. Bruford comparison points also appear on “One Million” that taps Max Roach (who reportedly saw many KC double trio gigs). Bendian’s playful start and stop approach heavily resonates from both master drummers’ styles. Overall it’s the composer’s sense of discovery with defined limitations that epitomize the personal successes documented in this recording.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Gregg Bendian, Zakir Hussein

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bill Frisell - Unspeakable – Bill Frisell’s first Grammy winning CD is a major achievement on many fronts. Frisell doesn’t blow you away like many other experienced guitarists — he is the cardinal of understatement,...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues