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Percussion Centre Stage: Baljinder Sekhon's places & times (April 27, 2018 - Innova Recordings)

Baljinder Sekhon - places & times
(April 27, 2018 - Innova Recordings)

Performers: Dave Gerhart,Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Dieter Hennings, McCormick Percussion Group, Robert McCormick, Eunmi Ko, Line Upon Line Percussion

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In places & times, composer Baljinder Sekhon explores the possibilities of the modern percussion ensemble with surprising - even melodic - results. Sekhon currently teaches at the University of South Florida. With its subtitle of "Mapping the interior terrain", the music is intriguing, surprising, even entertaining, and not the essentially cerebral music you might expect.

Passageways, performed by the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet with Dave Gerhart on steel pan, covers a variety of moods, tempos, and tones, a piece with a vital sense of kinetic energy.

Música Casera is performed by guitarist Dieter Hennings along with the McCormick Percussion Group. It's an atmospheric piece with a spooky sense of drama that veers from the delicate plucking of strings to dissonance, ethereal humming to bright percussive tones.

Death Is an Advisor is a piece in six parts with subtitles like Any Time. Any Place. and A Worthy Opponent. The suite was inspired by the writings of author Carlos Castaneda and his books about being an apprentice to the sorcerer Don Juan Matus in the 1960s.

Sekhon writes: “I have been heavily influenced by the teachings of Don Juan, specifically those found in the book Journey to Ixtlan. “Death Is an Adviser” is a chapter from the book that deals with the awareness of death and how such awareness advises our decision-making in life.

Baljinder Sekohn by Gerry Szymanski
From drums and cymbals to the strings of a piano, the range of sounds, tones, and moods is astounding. It's performed by piano soloist Eunmi Ko along with the McCormick Percussion Group.

The first movement begins spooky and reflective, then swept into a whirl of energy in repeated notes and patterns. III. Touched. Not Felt. features the piano in a more central role, and a, dare I say, upbeat burst of melody and percussion. Melodic piano lines and aggressive rhythms contrast each other in the fourth movement - A Worthy Opponent. From the calm serenity of V. Now or Later, VI. Dream Come True finishes with a jarring juxtaposition of melodic beauty and disquieting percussive notes.

Sun, performed by line upon line percussion, throws traditional drumming patterns and lines into a contemporary percussion mash up, cycling through kinetic drama and reflective passages. Refuge (McCormick Percussion Group) is magical and mesmerizing.

Highly evocative and atmospheric, Sekhon makes a compelling case for putting percussion in the spotlight.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful review and for taking the time to get to know this album!


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