logo   Ask The Sun (OD12008)
Musicians Hamid Drake — tabla, drum set, djimbe, conga, frame drum, bells, gongs, shakers, cymbals, tambourine, didjeridoo, voice (Zirk of the Heart)
Michael Zerang — dumbek, frame drums, tambourine, drum set, trap set, dawoola, bells, gongs, cymbals, chimes, bass drums, didjeridoo

on "Ararat Mountain Two-Step":
Ashik Altany — zurma
Eddie Zerang — djimbe
Cover and Artwork cover

Cover artist: Eric Evans
Photographer: Marc PoKempner
Graphic designer: Louise Molnar


1. Sacred Womb (for Oshun) (10:05)
2. The Children of Clark Street (8:20) (MPEG2)
3. River Dance (11:22)
4. The Wisdom Sisters (6:05) (MPEG2)
5. Ararat Mountain Two-Step (6:04)
6. The Black Basement (13:05) (MPEG2)
7. Dreaming of Winter (7:02)
8. Zikr of the Heart (10:23)

total time: 72:26

all compositions by Hamid Drake (Smiling Forehead/BMI) and Michael Zerang (MUNIMULAMUSIC/BMI)

Recording Info

Recorded at Airwave Studios, Chicago, IL, September 14-15, 1995
("The Black Basement" recorded live at Club Lower Links, Chicago, IL, May 19, 1991 by Sundell Close)

Producers: Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake
Executive Producer: Bruno Johnson
Engineer: John McCortney


One of the few joys in Chicago’s seasonal changes are the ritual solstice performances of percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang. Both of them are proficient on a wide array of African, Western and Middle Eastern rhythmic instruments, and there’s a clear sense of deep intuitive dialogue when they work together. What makes their universalist interactions fall so well into a jazz ideal is a quick-thinking sense of improvisation ("The Black Basement" stands out) and that they swing like mad right from the first track. There’s also a driving call-and-response with Ashik Altany’s zurma on "Ararat Mountain Two-Step". (***1/2)

— Aaron Cohen, "A New Chicago", Down Beat, January 1998

Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang drum up a storm, to put things succinctly. This album of percussion duets features intricately interlaced drums, bells, shakers, and chimes. Rolling patterns, melodicism, and moods pervade this fine album. Forget your nightmares of the endless drum solos perpetuated by bloated classic rock dinosaurs; try to put aside more current preconceptions of deadhead drum circle revivalists and world beat wannabes. These two musicians are serious but not full of themselves and they are not interested in creating a patchwork of cultural artifacts. The sounds here stand on their own; they do not cause you to try to think of which country’s native music they lifted from. The tracks on Ask the Sun are masterful enough for the connoisseur to delve into and inviting enough for the dabbler (who might well be on the way to connoisseurdom after hearing this album).

— "Gabe", KZSU-FM (Stanford)