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November 1999

Steve Reid
Passion In Paradise
Domo Music Group

With a huge list of percussion toys like woodblocks, Chinese ball tree, bird calls, seed pods, ants and megachimes at work, Steve Reid's Passion in Paradise should be a virtual rainforest of thundering atmosphere and world beat melee. However, the Rippingtons' percussionist for the most part drapes his pieces in so much keyboard electronica that his interesting work is mostly hidden. Prime examples are "Kisses in the Wind," a tropic exotic work which is somewhat enlivened by Steve Oliver's slide guitar accents, and the album's title track, which despite a stomping backbeat is mostly slick atmosphere. Reid's frenetic, creative play is exposed on lower-key arrangements like the samba-derived "Martini Beach," featuring downplayed classical guitar work. In addition, the all-percussion improvisation "Bahia Breeze" is an impressive exercise in sonic surroundings-a dense, highly textured atmosphere that draws the listener deep inside. Spotlights like these reveal the true passion and creativity in Reid's expert percussion play.

Originally published in November 1999
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