Michael Carvin


Drum Concerto At Dawn

Modern Drummer calls this CD "A brave, inspired statement…each cut is passionate and individual." Powerful, vivid dramas composed and passionately played by a drum virtuoso. The most dynamic drum kit sound on any CD. You'll hear the real impact of stick on cymbal and drumhead and the full drumshell resonance of Michael's drums. Fred Kaplan calls it "…riveting, even moving…handles his trapset like an orchestra." A Fi SuperDisc. (#03752)

Michael Carvin, drums



RHYTHM-A-NING (T.Monk) - Listen To Sample
ONE UP, ONE DOWN (J.Coltrane, arr: A.Cyrille)
WE THREE (M.Carvin)
THE SOUND OF JAPAN (M.Carvin) - Listen To Sample
THINK (M.Carvin) - Listen To Full Song



Austin American Statesman:
reviewed by Michael Point

Houston native Michael Carvin, an awesomely talented percussion prodigy who worked in the Motown Records studios and the Los Angeles television industry before beginning an illustrious jazz career, has a new release, Drum Concerto at Dawn, which is admittedly an acquired taste. But if you like innovative percussion, powered by virtuosic drumming and creative composing, you’ll rarely find a recording with as much obvious aural appeal.

Carvin has played on more than 150 albums, including classics by Jackie McLean, Freddie Hubbard, Cecil Taylor, Ray Charles, Dexter Gordon, and McCoy Tyner, to name only a few. His ground-breaking Antiquity album with McLean, one of the first successful attempts at letting just sax and drums carry the whole show, is an excellent accompaniment to his new solo release. Carvin plays a half-dozen original compositions, as well as a concluding improv piece, along with a bit of Monk and Coltrane. The music is surprisingly accessible as Carvin manages to tell evocative sonic stories, using only the most primal of instruments. Drummers will naturally be the most interested in the recording, but all jazz fans should be able to appreciate and enjoy it.

August 1, 1996

reviewed by Fred Kaplan

Speaking of musicians who career through cracks of categories (and jazz labels dedicated to minimal miking and two-track recording methods), here's a startler from Mapleshade -- Michael Carvin's Drum Concerto At Dawn, a fifty-minute drum solo that's riveting, even moving. I do not write this lightly; drum solos usually bore me silly if they stretch much longer than ninety seconds and, in any case, they offer little emotional sustenance. But this one's a different kettle entirely. Carvin, 52, is a master drum-teacher -- a drummer's drummer -- who has played with just about every jazz great in the book. He has wanted to lay down a record like this one for more than a decade but, not unreasonably, could muster no interest among the labels till now. This is a suite -- difficult a concept as that may seem for unaccompanied drums. He even plays witty renditions of Monk's Rhythm-A-Ning and Coltrane's One Up, One Down and damn if they aren't convincing. Most of the disc is original material, though, and he, especially, Carvin handles his trapset like an orchestra, striking melodies, themes, counter statements, tonal colors, bass lines, polyrhythms, all at once (no overdubs). The only time my attention flagged was during the last track, an eight-and-one-half minute free improvisation that he tacked on as an afterthought (which only strengthens my view of the rest of the album as a deeply reflective, cohesive piece).

Carvin's peers have long known of his technical proficiency; not for nothing did he win five consecutive Texas state drum championships in his youth (a competition no less formal than Olympic figure-skating, involving mastery of twenty-six rudiments of drumming). But I doubt if many had taken him as such a spiritual musician, as someone who can be mentioned in the same paragraph, if not quite the same breath, as Max Roach or Ed Blackwell. Drum Concerto At Dawn is about birth and death, love and freedom, family and discipline, and if this sounds unlikely and pretentious, then you just have to take a listen.

Sonics (produced through two mikes, analog tape, careful settings -- period) are excellent, dynamics are wi-i-i-i-i-de. A high-resolution stereo and a quiet room are not merely helpful but essential to appreciating what's going on. Then turn it up. Sit back. Prepare to be surprised.

October, 1996