top of page

 Title:               Scrambler

 By:                  Mike Pride

 Released in:   2005

 Format:          CD

 Catalog No:    MW 766-2

 Price :             12 EUR


1. A Cry For Unity [11:19]

2. Sometimes It Just Goes To Show [25:57]

3. A Prayer For Peace [13:54]

4. You Never Can Be So Sure... [27:04]



Mike Pride - drums, percussion, vocals

Tony Malaby - tenor sax

Charlie Looker - guitar

William Parker - bass




It takes about five minutes into the first track before the drums start playing some explicit rhythm, yet in the meantime, this band, which includes Tony Malaby on sax, William Parker on bass and Charlie Looker on guitar, has managed to create a sound which is haunting and captivating, while reminding us that this is a drummer's album, in the sense that Pride's drumming is all over the place, creating an eery intensity from the very first seconds, and remaining on the forefront all through the track, together with Malaby's powerful sax. The album shifts in the second track, as Malaby firmly takes the reins in his hands, and the rest of the band follows suite, creating absolute intensity going full power into the highest possible tones of his tenor, to justified acclaim of the audience. Mike Pride is a young US drummer with great intensity and unrelenting drive and creative ideas, and he has played with some great jazz musicians such as Anthony Braxton. Charlie Looker is also a Braxton student and is also active in avant, jazz and rock/punk bands. Although Parker and Looker are excellent, they are very much in the supporting roles on this album, providing the necessary backbone and unity, accentuating when necessary, once in a while coming to the forefront. But Pride and Malaby are absolutely wild on this album, in a no-holds-barred attitude, playing as if their life depended on it. It is only after about half an hour, in preparation of the finale of the second piece, that - driven by Parker's bass - melody, even tenderness intervene, as a logical bridge to the more soft-spoken abstract third piece, where Looker and Parker consecutively build the piece, leading in for Malaby who plays slow, almost microtonal phrasings, while Pride is hitting for two in the meantime, propulsing the sax into top gear for some fierce and expressive blowing, which is the kind of thing you would not immediately associate with the title "A Prayer For Peace". The album ends with another track of close to half an hour, again starting of slowly, but then moving on into a strangely abstract cacophonic bop, first hesitantly, then gaining momentum and explode, but the longest part of the track is more introspective, the musicians circling around each other, creating new tones, alone, in duo or trio, without loosing any of the tension built up before. In sum, this incredibly intensive band combines the wild enthusiasm of two upcoming musicians, eager to demonstrate their ideas and skills, with the mature musical power of two worldclass jazz musicians. Energy and inventiveness, ideas and emotions, power and subtlety, intensity and interplay, you will find it all on this record, and with truckloads. 






Mike Pride's Scrambler starts off with a bang. On the first track, 'A Cry For Unity', the drummer-leader starts the trip with a barricade of beats. Soon enough his 'Cry For Unity' is answered by a tremendous trio of sounds, William Parker booming his bass in with Charlie Looker's subtle yet key guitar, allowing Tony Malaby to fly out of the boundaries of his sax. Looker steps front stage in 'Sometimes It Just Goes To Show' with a refreshing tone. Clean and fast, with the occasional handmade effect, Looker delivers. At the drop of a hi-hat, this band of four can go off in their own dimensions, as they weave in and out of each other to create a smooth and 'scrambling' sound. The beauty is that as much as these guys go out riffing, they tighten up just as quickly with a flawless transition. A master collaboration of musicians. 


(Michael Puccio, AllAbout Jazz)




Mike Pride is the kind of musician that makes the current NYC improv underground so vital. He's always challenging himself with new situations and breaking down barriers between different scenes, intermingling avant-rock, avant-jazz, free improv, and miscellaneous wackiness in a countless stream of projects. This disc is a perfect example of his expansive community spirit, bringing together two great avant-jazzers from different circles of activity, not to mention a young guitarist known mostly for his work in the fabulously idiosyncratic post-hardcore art pop band Time of Orchids. Every combination of unique musical personalities offers the potential for unique and great free jazz if they come together with confidence and sensitivity. Here are four musicians who do precisely that, catalyzed by William Parker's locomotive throbs and searing arco. Free jazz is a bottomless well of human spirit and these 2002 recordings issued in an elegant gatefold by the Polish label Not Two is an outpouring well worth lapping up. 


(Michael Anton Parker)

Scrambler  by Mike Pride album cover

Scrambler by Mike Pride

Tiebreaker by Jeb Bishop,  Harris Eisenstadt & Jason Roebke album cover

Tiebreaker by Jeb Bishop, Harris Eisenstadt & Jason Roebke

Rob Brown (4) / Daniel Levin album cover

Natural Disorder by Rob Brown & Daniel Levin

Frail Lumber by Scott Fields Ensemble album cover

Frail Lumber by Scott Fields Ensemble

Re-Collect by Jeb Bishop Flex Quartet album cover

Re-Collect by Jeb Bishop Flex Quartet

The Exterminating Angel by Kirk Knuffke / Mike Pride album cover

The Exterminating Angel by Kirk Knuffke / Mike Pride

bottom of page