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Mondo Beat 2: Masters of Percussion (Narada World/Virgin)

Although you'd have a right to be wary of this compilation's generic title and faux-primitive graphics, you could do worse when the time comes to check out drumcentric CD surveys. (And you know that time will inevitably come.) Mondo Beat 2 rounds up popular stickmen such as Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead), and Airto Moreira (Miles Davis, Weather Report), as well as a number of more obscure figures.

An 11-track travelogue of rhythmic sorcery, Mondo Beat 2 touches on Indian, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, African, and modern Western styles. It's an earnest, NPRish lesson in global-beat schematics, but there are moments of fiery brilliance. Taufiq and Tabla Beat Science give Indian tablas sizzling workouts, Greg Ellis/VAS builds a storm of taiko thunder to rival the famous Japanese Kodo ensemble, and Sikuru Adepoju and Afrika Heartbeat offer intricately layered and chunky articulations on talking drums. This percussion primer teaches listeners that a brute physical act like hitting a drum can communicate profound spiritual feelings.

More by Dave Segal

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