|"You hear that a record's on Emanem and you expect uncompromising improvisation. You hear that a record's a percussion duo and, unless you're either an unquenchable optimist or a drumming fanatic, you expect an exercise in traded licks and patterns that compels the participants far more than anyone who might actually listen to the thing. This CD douses expectations with a fine driving rain of great and thoroughly accessible music. Admittedly there's a limited sound palette but it's nonetheless an exquisite ear-tickler. Berger's since established himself as a string arranger; this might help to explain the rightness of his unerringly placed mallet beats, and also why the finely detailed melodies he brings to this performance so generously award attention. If he played a horn instead of the always under appreciated vibes, these tunes would probably be widely covered. And what can you say about Blackwell? Did he ever not sound good? He's in superior form here, knocking out stark vivid slit drum tattoos on Balafon Samba and shadowing Berger's lines with equally melodic snare and cymbal strikes on We Are."
BILL MEYER - SIGNAL TO NOISE 2000
"Five of the tracks are for vibes and drum kit, but the longest and most adventurous compositions (!) are for African bala(fon) and osi- or slit drum. The two pieces, Balafon Samba and Wood and Skin Works, occupy almost half the record between them. The shorter tracks are more dynamic but don't capture the same, almost hypnotic, quality. Blackwell is in great form, perfectly in balance with Berger's own delicate touch."
RICHARD COOK and/or BRIAN MORTON - 'The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD' 2002