January-February 1999, Touch, Dark Light Music DL 24004
Rick’s name has popped up several times of late. The Toronto percussionist figures in some diverse and powerful ensembles. The current instance – actually a 1995 date – features regulars Collin Barrett and Lester Boyke on bass, Gordon Sheard on keys, and Hugh Marsh on violin. What distinguishes this from other virtuoso fusion /Latin outfits is that solos are kept in check, arrangements are squeaky tight, and there is virtually no clutter. Take, for example, “Sereia”, featuring a joyous Brazillian-tinged melody riding on a rock solid foundation.
The percussion is instantly modern and traditional. Rick seems to have a good grasp of when to stick to indigenous rhythms and when to break the rules. A good example of the latter is Hugh Marsh’s tune, “Toof Ache,” which reminds of latter day Miles Davis.
You are in for a surprise if you have only heard Mark Kelso with Holly Cole. He gets a business like drum sound and pulls off flawless, difficult fills to set up transitions. All his notes are in the right spots – no mean feat when working with complex arrangements. The net effect is ease, belying the rehearsals that must have gone into this – and other – Montuno Police releases.