THE TAO OF TIME (Pronounced DOW)

The Tao of Time is an old fashioned concept album.  Think Dark Side of the Moon, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, In the Wee Small Hours (Frank Sinatra), Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads, Tommy, or The Wall.  Actually, this doesn't sound like any of those albums but there are themes that run from the beginning to the last little bit of waves at the end.  It is a journey not just of a drummer, but is a journey of time in it's many incarnations; the universe, humanity, history and earth.  It is a sea journey too - the sea of time ~ as you will see when you hear it unfold.  And of course it is the journey of a drummer, in search for the right time and sound for this time - the most important time of all - Now!  Thank you all for believing in me and your fan support. Take the journey with me.  " I will always be awake at the helm"!  Captain Time

The Tao of Time

Jim Roberts

www.jimrobertspercussion.com
In 2006, percussionist, producer, and educator Jim Roberts found himself at the 10th anniversary of PeaceJam, an organization dedicated to inspiring kids by bringing Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to their school. Twelve laureates including the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu talked about their experiences of struggle and visions of change. The words of Jody Williams, an American activist who started the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, shook Roberts powerfully.

“She said if you’re involved in something and you want me to know about it, don’t come to me until you’ve done something about it,” Roberts recalls. “If you haven’t tried to do something, I don’t want to hear the plan. Come to me after you’ve done something.”

Roberts took the challenge. He devoted years to doing something, crafting The Tao of Time (release: October 26, 2018), a concept album as diverse and unexpected as his wide-ranging musical influences. Inspired by peace activists and other agents of change--the wonderful Peace Pilgrim’s words, for example, create a pivot in the album--The Tao of Time explores the nature of time, history, human experience, and how the past can but does not have to determine the future.

“As a drummer, people often expect you to just do drum pieces, not the kind of things I’m doing here. When I began working on this record, I had a bigger vision,” says Roberts. “But I knew that I couldn’t leave the drums out. Drums, time and language are synonymous. It’s all part of the process.”

Roberts’s bigger vision unfolds over the course of interlocking vignettes guided by raucous time-traveling seafarers, Captain Time and his Craic crew; clever covers (Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger,” along with set of variations on its themes); and original pieces tackling war and peace, past and future, life and death, and the nature of the universe. Though Roberts urges listeners to engage with the darker side of existence on pieces like “Soul Power ” and “When Will Peace Come,” the destination is ultimately hopeful and forward looking, as the words and sounds ask us to be “All That We Can Be.”

Throughout this arc run the drums, rhythms, and grooves that have inspired Roberts since childhood, when his obsession with drumming first came to light. Along with percussion training, he also studied with master djembe player Khalid Saleem and played with the Chuck Davis African-American Dance Ensemble (Davis gets a futuristic homage on “The Island of Ujoma”). He studied Afro-Cuban percussion with Steve Bloom, as well as dedicating himself to understanding Brazilian rhythms and instruments. He toured great swaths of the country and recorded on three albums with GRAMMY-winning bassist Victor Wooten, who narrates “The Voice of Wisdom” and appears on Roberts’ Ancient Hand album.

Roberts brings this extensive experience to bear on tracks like “Drum Language,” that showcase the many inflections and ideas drums and rhythms can convey. “Drums were one of the first instruments,” explains Roberts. “This idea of drum languages is that drums can be used for communication, to say whole paragraphs, particularly in Nigeria. ‘Drum Language’ is about the combination of these instruments to create one voice.”

This voice speaks of other possibilities, suggesting how we might work to build peace: “The drums’ connection with language and communication is a key thing in the development of humankind,” Roberts reflects.

The drums were often the first instrument tracked in the studio as in “Drum Language” and “Spang Spang A Lang”. “Others including the ‘The Passenger’ (part 1) were tracked with acoustic guitar first,” Roberts notes. “The soukous section, ‘Here’ (part 2) was a click track and with the bass grooving on the chord changes. The beginnings were really bare bones compared to what it became.”

In addition to the drums, Roberts has executed a great deal of the Tao himself, playing a range of instruments (including the kalimba that draws together several of the tracks) and producing and engineering the album. “I recorded the whole record, edited it, and wore a lot of hats. I created everything layer by layer,” he notes. “I had to figure out first off what was the big picture of the pieces. And it all had to flow. I played using an intuitive sense of when something had to change if I was uncertain.”

That sense proved crucial guidance for the genre-agnostic, philosophically ambitious project. “I wanted everything to come together, the spoken word, the music, the lyrics, the narrative,” Roberts says. “The album was designed so that you would discover something new in each listen, sonically, lyrically and musically. It is a thickly painted canvas complete with double entendre, mysticism and innuendo, as well as some pretty clear and blunt statements.”

These statements are big, getting at the fiber of our shared experience as humans. The album’s electronic-inflected title track gathers the many threads, inspired by the sorrow Roberts felt when a friend lost his infant son. “‘Tao of Time’ is about the cycles of life. “I wrote it while thinking about what my friend was going through, while watching the water on the Pamlico River. I realized that there were eons of time before me, just like music. It will be here long after I leave.” That is the wisdom Roberts has found in time--and one way he hopes will bring more people to the universal nature of peace and awareness.
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REVIEWS for The Tao of Time  

"It's brilliant man (The Tao of Time) I love several of the tracks; Drum Language and Slang a lang immediately comes to mind. The first is just flat out awesome and the second calls to mind the interplay between spoken word and free jazz, ala the Art Ensemble of Chicago...I love the mash of historic recordings that's become a meditation on violence... Nice!" Thomasi McDonald,  News and Observer

Read the review here - News and Observer 

"A concept album as diverse and unexpected as his wide-ranging musical influences...Roberts carves out a path entirely his own..." JAZZCHILL 

"...great credit for taking the kind of chances for which I've derided others for avoiding. The Tao of Time is an interesting concept album, the likes of which are seldom made any more." OFF-CENTER VIEWS  (Scroll Down)

"A listen where each tune is an adventure in itself... plenty of cultural experimentalism.... An enlightening effort....  TAKE EFFECT

 Also available at CD Baby! Click link  - https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jimroberts2

Waka Waka

CapeTown

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Infectious American-African World Music featuring South African singer/bassist, Paul Petersen. Blending the melodies from Africa with the rhythms of the Caribbean and US.

On June 21st, 2016, Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns passed away. His contributions to this album were significant as well as generous. The title track. "Waka Waka" shows his skill in horn arranging. He is joined on saxophone by Cole Burgess and he will be greatly missed by all who know him.

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Two Traditions

Jim Roberts

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Two Traditions

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Contemporary fiddle music with ethnic percussion accompaniment 1 - Candy Girl 2 - Ride Ol' Buck 3 - You're Never Promised Tomorrow 4 - Jimmy Sutton 5 - Emory Bailey 6 - Zone Blue 7 - Wooden Thumbs 8 - John Brown's Dream 9 - Praying Mantis 10 - Devil In the Strawstack 11 - Sugar Babe 12 - Hangman's Reel 13 - Mountain Water 14 - Good Night

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    Ride Ol' Buck

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    You're Never Promised Tomorrow

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    Jimmy Sutton

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    Emory Bailey

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    Zone Blue

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    Wooden Thumbs

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    John Brown's Dream

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    Praying Mantis

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    Devil in the Strawstack

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    Sugar Babe

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    Hangman's Reel

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    Mountain Water

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    Good Night

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Ancient Hand - Tranze is the Danze

Jim Roberts

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Thank you for joining us on the private pages. As a token of my appreciation, I am giving you my first album FREE! Enjoy. Colliding traditions create rhythmic array of ethnic post - modern textures layered with poetic mantras. Featuring Victor Wooten (The Tracker) and Beth Nielsen Chapman (Yemaya)

"It's wonderful when you find someone that can express the melodic side of percussion. I think Jim Roberts has done that. Plain and simple, this album is just good music!" says Victor Wooten of the Grammy Award winning group, Bela Fleck and Flecktones.

Ancient Hand was the first solo recording by percussionist, producer, Jim Roberts, released in 1998. It is mood-driven music that features experimental use of rhythm instruments such as West African Balaphon, Banjo Uke, Djembe, Trash Snare, Conga Kit, Log Drums, Strum Stick, EMbira, Water Gourds, Paddle Drums, Trash Bells and Big Bass Tubs. Rhythmic and harmonic instruments create poetic mantras for 7 different vocalists, ranging from lofty, Cuban inspired "Yemaya" to the dark moody "Wait for Me" sung by Horse Fly singer, Jeff Claus. The CD features a number of prominent Nashville and Ithaca, NY musicians including Beth Nielsen Chapmen, Victor Wooten, members of the Horse Flies, The Burns Sisters, and Essra Mohawk.

Beth Nielsen Chapman, acclaimed vocalist of 2004 release "Hymns" will be releasing this version of "Yemaya" on two different projects in 2005. She is joined here by the Burns Sisters.

It was recorded in both Ithaca, NY and Nashville, TN. Jim had been playing music with friends in Ithaca in the summer/fall of 1996 and he returned in the winter/spring of 1998 to mix the CD at Pyramid Studio with producer, Alex Perialas.

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