November 29, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

Planet Drum

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Mickey Hart
genre
World
We gave it a B

Planet Drum is more than just an album. This is the aural branch of Grateful Dead percussionist Hart’s grand ”Planet Drum” project, a vision that also embraces Planet Drum the coffee-table book, and the Planet Drum Foundation (which, according to the liner notes, is ”committed to a synthesis of people and habitat through bioregional education”). It’s all so politically correct your teeth may hurt, but at least the music itself is free of posturing. Hart has rounded up six of the ”great drummers from around the world” to produce a spirited series of all-percussion jams. Any album that lets Nigeria’s Babatunde Olatunji, Brazil’s Airto Moreira, and India’s Zakir Hussain whang away on everything from African drums to clay pots on their own chest cavities is worth your while, and the ingenuity of the rhythmic cross-stitching hoists most of the record far above New Age blandness. You do have to wonder, though: If Mickey Hart is so dedicated to breaking down international barriers, how come his name’s the only one on the cover? B

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