Under One Sun

“Three rhythm masters transport an adventurous octet. Under One Sun’s stunning debut is spearheaded by saxophonist/ multi-reedist Billy Drewes and master percussionist JAMEY HADDAD. Drewes’ compositions are gorgeous world music/ jazz celebrations that unfold in unexpected and arresting ways. Haddad is best known for his global hand drumming/percussion, so it’s a treat hearing him here in his role as kit player. Not surprisingly, hedelivers effortless feel, precision, dynamics, and an uncanny skill for coloration and orchestration. But the paramount rhythmic wonder here is Haddad’s union with tabla player SALAR NADER and conga/ timbale player LUISITO QUINTERO. There is never rhythmic clutter or sonic/textural conflict—only inter-complementing of the highest order. The sophisticated arrangements exploit the beauty of unusual instrumentation that also includes bass, piano, qanun (a horizontal stringed instrument), and the specially designed “hyper accordion.” Eight musicians from fi ve countries, under one sun, creating a singular, transfixing voice.”  

— Jeff Potter, Modern Drummer, 2017

Jamey Haddad met saxophone player Billy Drewes when both were music students in Boston. Nearly 45 years later, the longtime friends have made their first recording together: a collection of nine tunes written by Drewes and performed by Under One Sun, eight musicians who represent five countries and whose ages span five decades.

“As my musical journey led me from one continent to another, and as I experienced a planet crying out for understanding, this team of players cosmically came forward,” says Haddad, a longtime professor of advanced improvisation and percussion at Oberlin Conservatory. “The sheer joy of every member experiencing their bandmates’ artistry truly exemplifies the human capacity to celebrate what makes us unique.”

Joining Haddad and Drewes are Michael Ward-Bergeman (hyper accordion), Luisito Quintero (congas, timbales, and percussion), Roberto Occhipinti (acoustic bass), Leo Blanco (piano), Ali Paris (qanun and voice), and Salar Nader (tabla). 

Also included are performances by fellow Oberlin faculty trombonists Jay Ashby and Lee Allen, Oberlin Conservatory brass students, and Hadra des Femmes de Taroudant, an all-female vocal ensemble from Morocco. The accompanying booklet includes reflections from each musician and notes by legendary songwriter Paul Simon, with whom Haddad has performed for two decades.”  

— Erich Burnett