Primary Instrument: Drums
From the opening son-of-Max Roach drum essay you know this is a drummer's date. McIver, who is a well-rounded percussionist, follows that opener with the aptly-titled 'Run,' which is full of requisite fire and drive like a victorious 400 meter dash...This is a combustible, drum-proud date. McIver crisply addresses his kit and augments with marimba, tympani, and overdubbed electronics in a tasteful way; his music has an orchestrated quality and this is overall a very spirited release. Craig McIver certainly knows his way around the traps. - The Independent Ear
Drummer Craig McIver has been making waves as the drummer of choice for a number of Philadelphia's finest including Odean Pope, Bobby Zankel, Khan Jamal and others...This is definitely a drummer's date. 'Can't Hide,' the opener is a well-developed drum solo that sets the tone for the rousing set to come. It segues into the hyper 'Run' with a tricky muscular head that gets the entire sextet charging. Saxophonist Ben Schacter is particularly inspired with a dynamic, energetic solo that reminds of fellow Philadelphian Odean Pope in its inspired intensity. (But be assured, Schacter is his own man.)
McIver is going for something a little different with this release. He intersperses various percussion solos and interludes throughout the program. The final three tracks form the 'Metronomic Suite' and are a nice trio of pieces with which to end the disc. Everyone is featured and Bobby Zankel guests on the final track 'Reflections Passing.' This is the best track on the disc and comes off as an odd, almost Sun Ra-ish type chart with its tympani, off-kilter rhythm, unusual voicings and melody line. I found myself returning often to this track.
McIver makes use of some judicious overdubbing (usually on marimba, tympani) which, with one exception sounds natural...this is one heck of a good record with first rate playing all around. - Cadence
Craig McIver's debut recording opens with a four-and-a-half-minute drum solo, a one-man tribal assault that sets the stage for an idiosyncratic album of twisting, polyrhythmic original compositions...electrifying, as McIver - drum kit augmented with tympani, electronic strings and marimba - challenges his adventurous crew of Philadelphia musicians to keep up. The concluding 'Metronomic Suite' offers a different approach: It's more relaxed and melodic, but disarmingly off-kilter. - JazzTimes
Craig McIver enters through the big door on the leader’s scene with a notorious departure...Inspired drummer and composer McIver’s new release has been thirstily anticipated by many of his fans. Here he besieges himself with first-rate musicians criminally grooving... On 'Paratriculas' saxophonist Ben Schachter and Craig McIver perform plying highhanded ascendances, eager tones, and fluid tom-toms with faultless phrasing to shape spectacular personal voices. Craig McIver’s playing is superb throughout the album...
'Run' is a great piece in which trumpeter John Swana as well as saxophonists Ben Schachter and Bobby Zankel soar, stretching out crosswise a vigorous groove. Not to mention the far-out conga-playing of percussionist Ron Howarton, bassist Mike Boone, and pianist Jason Shatti on 'Under the Popes Umbrella.'
From the fingertip opus, prodded by the leader, this far-out drummer distills painstaking music as well as occasionally frenzied spaces where the osmosis and growing interplay between these artists is awesome.
...A Horse Of A Different Rhythm unleashes glorious pas de deux between Craig McIver and Ron Howarton. Both peered voices succeed on an upright rhythm, while giving the evidence of a tasteful fervency, a flexibility and powerful phrase mastery. This is a wonderful release deploying solid orchestration. Highly recommended! - jazzreview.com
Drummer Craig McIver, long-time collaborator with Philly tenor saxophone legend Odean Pope, makes his own session here, and it's a freewheeling affair. McIver starts off by himself, lays some amazing mallets to the marimba, and joins with the flower of Philly jazz players for what is generally a vigorous and combustible session. Saxophonist Ben Schachter offers up some wild runs on the leader's adventurous original, 'Paratriculas,' which features several ample opportunities for McIver to scorch the drums alone.
...Alto saxophonist Bobby Zankel proves to be his zesty self on the smoothly flowing 'Reflections Passing.' McIver's originals establish him as a serious composer. ...the haunting cut 'Under the Pope's Umbrella' elicits some colorful, muted runs from trumpeter John Swana and a gentle, rich solo from bassist Mike Boone. - Philadelphia Inquirer