For their new duo recording, renowned percussionists Pete Lockett and Randy Gloss worked with an ocean between them — and still managed to capture a world of musical ideas.
Two of contemporary music’s most prolific percussionists, Pete Lockett and Randy Gloss, have released the collaborative album Stones in the Yard. The recording features musical influences from Indonesia, Japan, India, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and North America; an edited list of the percussion instruments used includes tongue drums, tuned gongs, antique cymbals, tar, pandeiro, coconut-agogo, metal pot, water cymbals, gankogui, tabla, kanjira, bendir, Tibetan bowls, Roland SPD-SX electronic multipad, and Boss RC-505 Loop Station.
The list of artists who Gloss and Lockett have recorded and performed with individually is equally staggering. (We refer you to their respective websites for representative lists.) The two musicians met in the 1990s at CalArts Valencia, where Gloss received his MFA in multi-focus percussion, and where, as a faculty member, he oversaw the MFA World Percussion Program and directed the World Music Performance Programs. Gloss’ mentor at CalArts was the iconic hand percussionist John Bergamo, who invited his protégé to join his group Hands On’Semble.
“I was lucky enough to perform with Randy at CalArts with the late great John Bergamo,” says Lockett, who, in addition to playing live with Hands On’Semble, appeared on the group’s fifth album, Cinco Sobre Tres. The percussionist has also been a visiting artist and lecturer at CalArts on multiple occasions.
“Some of my earliest memories of hanging with Pete are events like PASIC [the Percussive Arts Society International Convention],” says Gloss. “I think that might’ve been where we first got to know each other. I also remember going to see Pete perform when he came to town; the earliest I recall was with the group Afro Celt Soundsystem. That probably was in the 1990s.”
While Lockett and Gloss had recorded on each other’s albums in the past, recently the pair decided to go headlong into a project to put down some duo recordings. “Opportunities to collaborate have come up,” says Gloss, “but particularly over the last few years, the idea of a duo project really started to take shape and align.”
To record the album, the two musicians had to work remotely, with Lockett in London and Gloss in Los Angeles. “It took some [time] and a lot of information sharing and internet exchanges over that time,” explains Lockett. “Working around each other’s schedules and availability, and also making a concerted effort to embrace and dive deep into a collaborative spirit and approach…yes, it took some time,” Gloss confirms. “Likely a lot more than just going into the studio together. In the end, though, I think this time and process really cultivated something special.
“I am very proud of the result,” Gloss continues, “as it is a true collaborative work that showcases our musical and compositional approaches, playing styles, aesthetics, etc., balanced in both harmony and contrast. Pete’s been a trusted colleague, peer, sounding board, advocate, resource, and of course friend. I’m ever interested in what he’s up to in a musical sense — as I know he’s definitely not sitting still — and I’m always eager to share my work with him.”
“I for one and extremely happy that we have managed to compose, perform, mix, and master all these ideas together,” says Lockett, “which reflect both of our hybrid and exploratory percussive natures. Now for the next one!”