Drummers have a hard time of it. You’ve all heard the jokes: How do you know when a drummer is at the door? The knocking speeds up. Or alternatively: How do you know when a drummer is at the door? He doesn’t know when to come in.

It’s fair to say that, generally speaking, solo albums by drummers are only of interest to other drummers. That certainly isn’t the case with Cheating The Polygraph. Gavin Harrison drums with The Porcupine Tree and is currently one of three drummers in the latest incarnation of King Crimson. For Cheating The Polygraph , Harrison has taken eight Porcupine Tree tracks and reimagined them in a jazz big band style.

This is not big band jazz in the style of Glenn Miller however; think more like Frank Zappa’s Make A Jazz Noise Here album. In fact, the closest comparison I can make is with Andy Sheppard’s 1990 album Soft On The Inside. Harrison’s father was a professional trumpet player and so he was surrounded by the sound of brass from an early age. Working over a five year period with Porcupine Tree bassist Laurence Cottle, who arranged the pieces, Harrison has produced an album that succeeds entirely on it’s own merits. If, like me, you are entirely unfamiliar with the Porcupine Tree originals, you will still find this to be a deeply satisfying album.

Highlights include opening track what Happens Now? which builds on seemingly random short brass stabs, reminiscent of the opening pulses of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, moving to a complex polyrhythmic crescendo. Hatesong (halo) provides a network of marimba and bass guitar patterns for the brass and drums to weave their way through.

Cheating The Polygraph is an album for both fans of modern jazz and lovers of adventurous rock. Highly recommended.

Cheating The Polygraph is available now on kscope.

Read More Posts Like This

  • project-mayak-iphone

    The Project Mayak team has announced the official start of preparations for the launch of the Mayak satellite into orbit – the first Russian spacecraft created by crowdfunding. It will also become the brightest star in the Earth’s sky. This exciting space venture is the work of a skilled team including the official Chief Stress Therapist, Quasar – the furriest…

  • "A blackstar need not have an event horizon, and may or may not be a transitional phase between a collapsing star and a singularity." As the world now knows, Blackstar was released two days before Bowie’s death. As such it represents something a little more poignant than it ordinarily would have and it became his first US number one pretty…

  • Rick Danko – Stage Fright

    Rick Danko was a supremely accomplished vocalist, bass player and sometime mandolin and guitar player with The Band. His voice blended brilliantly with that of Levon Helm and Richard Manuel to produce one of the most influential and emotive of sounds in the history of rock and roll. Like Helm and Manuel, Danko is no longer with us, but the…

You must be logged in to leave a reply.