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Andy Narell : Tatoom

He may be one of the world’s best steel drummers, but Andy Narell nonetheless delivers too much of a good thing on Tatoom. Like his 2004 release The Passage, which featured the overkill of the 30-member steel-drum orchestra Calypsociation, Tatoom blends 22 different steel instruments. This time, however, all are overdubbed by Narell.

It isn’t exactly a formula for improvisational interplay. The muted tones of Narell’s tenor, double second, triple guitar, tenor bass and bass steel pans-and even occasional brake drum parts-are underscored by Luis Conte on percussion, either Mark Walker or Jean Philippe Fanfant on drums, and guest soloists. However, neither guitarist Mike Stern nor saxophonist David Sanchez appears on the 12-minute opener “Izo’s Mood” or subsequent title track. Both are too long for Narell to carry as the lone melodic instrumentalist.

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