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JazzTimes 10: The Composing Drummer (or the Drumming Composer)

A tentet of works by players who are as mighty with the pen as they are with the sticks

10. Antonio Sánchez: “Imaginary Lines” (Antonio Sánchez & Migration, The Meridian Suite, CAMJazz, 2015)

Antonio Sánchez’s highest-profile “composition,” his solo drumming score for the 2014 film Birdman, was actually (mostly) improvised. Sánchez is also a composer in the more conventional melody-and-harmony sense. 2015’s Meridian Suite is a feast of melody and often explosive energy. It also makes room for introspection, as on the beautiful, philosophical “Imaginary Lines.” Vocalist Thana Alexa has both wordy and wordless parts, meditating on shapes, boundaries, and what they mean. The music amplifies and extends those abstract musings, using melodic and rhythmic motifs as guideposts—but also making room for a smart, chopsy solo from electric bassist Matt Brewer. It’s the most gorgeous movement of a suite that represents perhaps Sánchez’s very best work. (It was also one of the best albums of 2015.)

Listen to a Spotify playlist featuring most of the songs in this JazzTimes 10:

Originally Published

Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.