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04/15/13

Dylan Ryan/Sand
Sky Bleached
Cuneiform Records

Dylan Ryan is a drummer adept at combining his jazz skills with adventurous rock, resulting in music that maintains the cerebral and visceral qualities of both styles. A man of many projects, he’s probably best known for his work with Herculaneum, a Chicago-based ensemble that’s heavy on horns and inventive grooves.

Sand finds him in a trio with guitarist Tim Young (John Zorn) and bassist Devin Hoff (the Nels Cline Singers). The set is split almost evenly between the drummer’s compositions—engaging guitar melodies delivered with the heft of prog-rock—and group improvs that succeed whether they’re gentle (“Soft Rain on a Dead Sea”) or vicious (“Mayan Sun”), primarily because they cover a lot of space in five minutes or less. The extra surprise arrives with Paul Motian’s “White Magic,” which the trio boldly turns into a howling blast of surf-rock.

Originally published in April 2013
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