Exposé Online banner

Drums & Tuba — Battles Olé
(Righteous Babe RBR047-D, 2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

Battles Olé Cover artDrums and Tuba has to be one of the oddest bands active these days in terms of their basic instrumentation, which would be, um, drums, tuba, trumpet, trombone, guitar and electronics. The core trio (Brian Wolff, Tony Nozero, Neal McKeeby) are augmented on this studio recording, their sixth, by friends on organ, sax, and additional brass. In some ways they remind me of Medeski Martin & Wood at their most experimental if they replaced the keyboards with guitar and the bass with tuba, if that’s not too much of a stretch. The basic idea is that solid, slightly funky drumming keeps things going no matter how far out the rest of the playing gets. And far is how out it gets here, with bizarre loops and distortions, squiggly sounds from unidentifiable sources and angsty vocals. The vocals are a new thing for the band, and don’t detract from the instrumental base, as the lengthy tracks allow plenty of room for stretching out. For all the improvisation, there is no space wasted on noodling or showoffy stage-hogging – texture and sound are favored over technique or flash. The centerpiece is the ten-minute gem with a loping Afrobeat triplet rhythm called “Magnum Opie,” which ranges from a quiet staccato build-up with acoustic guitar to an amazing climax of avant guitar, swooshing noises, and echoing trumpets. Amazing stuff.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Drums & Tuba

Latest news

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Black Stage - Black Stage – This is a project featuring Keiji Haino (electric guitar, flute, harp, voice), Natsuki Kido (acoustic guitar), and Yuji Katsui (violin) that – despite its release date – was recorded live...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues