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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review: Larry McDonald - Drumquestra

Larry McDonald - Drumquestra
2009, MCPR Music

Larry McDonald is a near-legendary figure in Reggae music, with a career spanning four decades and professional associations with the likes of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Gil Scott-Heron and many others. On June 2, 2009, McDonald releases his first solo album, Drumquestra. With Drumquestra ull of primal rhythms, Reggae and dance tracks, McDonald is like a professor illustrating the connection between our musical origins and the music of today. With McDonald's 20-piece drum orchestra and guest appearances from Dollarman, Toots Hibbert (Toots And The Maytalls), Ras Tesfa, Shaza and Mutabaruka, McDonald gets back to the roots of Reggae while highlighting its role in current popular music.

Drumquestra opens with Head Over Heels, a mid-tempo dance oriented tune featuring Dollarman on vocals. This is one of the more rhythmically straight forward songs on the album and has the earmarks of a single. Brother Man is a hopeful rhythmic rap with a positive message of peace, love and harmony. This is a potential hit as it is, and with the right mix could have serious legs on the club scene. Shaza And Terri Lion add their talents to this one. World Party seems like to do well on the dance scene, while Drums Say traces the branches of rhythm back to their very roots. Toots Hibbert lends a hand on Set The Children Free in a classic-sounding disco tune.

The highlight of the album is the title track, Drumquestra (Dawn Always Comes). Recorded in the Green Grotto Caves at Jamaica's Runaway Bay, Drumquestra plays more like an interpretation of the rhythms of the natural world than a man-made creation. Be sure to also check out Backyard Business; Got Jazz?; Mento In 3 and No More.

Larry McDonald has created an album full of the spark of life in Drumquestra. Whether hitting on a dance groove or natural rhythms, Drumquestra is an absolute pleasure. Consider this one highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Larry McDonald at You can download Drumquestra at or through iTunes. Larry McDonald is also founder of New York City based bands The Rocksteady 7 and Dub Is A Weapon.

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