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Virtuosic hand percussionist Adam Rudolph‘s octet, Moving Pictures, is aptly named; their music has the sweep and ambition of a cinematic epic. Their sound itself is tougher to describe: Allmusic categorizes them as “Post-Bop” and “World Fusion,” which is accurate but only superficial, especially when it comes to their new album, Dream Garden (Justin Time).
More correctly, Dream Garden represents a multi-fronted fusion. Rudolph has always utilized drums from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and this time his band is armed with gourds, Indian bamboo flutes and penny whistles, a Pakistani oboe, and a Japanese shakuhachi, as well as standard Western horns, woodwinds, drums, and electric and acoustic guitars. Put together, they form a stew of world music that you’ll never find on those Putumayo compilations at Starbucks. This is dark, murky stuff, sinuous and a little eerie. It veers from raga-like meditations (“Twilight Lake”) to Soweto Afropop (“Walking the Curve”), but at its core is jazz-rock fusion of the Miles Davis variety (even the all-acoustic tracks play on the heavy beat and languid horn phrases of In A Silent Way and On the Corner).
Worldbeat it ain’t, but Rudolph and Moving Pictures make music that’s both cerebral and oddly danceable. You’ll find room for both considerations if you head out to Baltimore on Sunday night, when Creative Alliance at the Patterson presents the band at 8pm. Tickets are $20 ($18 for members). The Patterson is at 3134 Eastern Avenue, (410) 276-1651.