Tabs Out | Birchall / Smal / Webster – Drop Out

Birchall / Smal / Webster – Drop Out
7.5.17 by Ryan Masteller


Kids, you know me, you’re old pal Ryan. You know I always say, “Stay in school,” because it’s important. Education is the key to a fulfilling life. You won’t get anywhere without hard work and some good, old-fashioned book-learning. Keep your nose to that scholastic grindstone, and you’ll go far, yes siree.

Well, uh, heh, I might have been a little bit wrong about the 100% necessity of all that. So I guess maybe some of you can throw that advice out the window? I dunno – David Birchall (guitar), Rogier Smal (drums, mastering), and Colin Webster (saxomophone) make a compelling point that you may only need to practice your instruments really hard, then that sweet, sweet Astral Spirits dough will start rolling in. You want to go to music school, like that idiot in Whiplash? Sure, get a cymbal chucked at your head, you’ll NEVER be Bird! But you can be Sonny Sharrock. Easy as pie, as dropping out, as picking up a guitar (or a sax, or some drumsticks) and shredding like your life depends on it. Because it does! Your life absolutely depends on getting gigs in amazing trios, like the Birchall/Smal/Webster trio.

Like Sonny Sharrock mind-melding with Sonny Stitt on, what, fifteen hits of acid each? – and that’s before they invite Gene Krupa to the party – Birchall, Smal, and Webster are in total sync, and they have to be to create the utterly insane mind flagellation of, wait for it, “Drop Out,” two sides, twenty-two minutes of the most ferocious free jazz you’re likely to hear this side of Juilliard. There’s no way to describe it, other than, holy crap, did you hear that? Wow. Not only do the players follow each other through the most difficult terrain, but Drop Out shifts on a dime from one excursion to the next, coming off more as a suite of tangential pieces than monolithic sidelong events. Which is just fine by me – the more eye-popping the musical gymnastics, the better!

Now, about that dropping out of school… seriously, kids, don’t do that. It’s really important. But feel free to “Drop Out” as much as you want. This public service announcement was brought to you by the Betsy DeVos–led Department of Education. [Barely contain laughter… now.]

There are 150 copies of this sick little puppy available. Get your mitts on one today!

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