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Rocket from the Cripps

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Rocket from the Cripps

As was briefly mentioned in last week's Street Beat ("Back to the future," July 8), percussionist Joe Cripps has left Brave Combo after seven years with the Denton band. Both sides say the split was amicable and based solely on Cripps' suddenly busy schedule, which seems to find him playing with everyone except Brave Combo. The most noteworthy project Cripps is involved with is ex-Screaming Trees drummer Barret Martin's forthcoming solo disc, due later this year.

Cripps met Martin a few months ago when both participated in Music Bridges Around the World, a cultural-exchange program that sent R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, Burt Bacharach, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Osborne, and Lisa Loeb, among others, to Havana, Cuba, for a week to write and perform songs with Cuban musicians. The two became fast friends in Havana, and the relationship continued when they returned to the States. Martin spent some time with Cripps in Denton in April, and Cripps recently returned from Seattle, where he recorded tracks for inclusion on Martin's album. Cripps will tour with Martin's band beginning in late September.

According to a recent e-mail, Cripps' future commitments also include stints in Unit 33 -- a new project featuring frequent Earl Harvin collaborator Dave Palmer -- and the Magic Cropdusters. Cripps previously appeared on the Little Rock-based Cropdusters' second album, Goshen, released earlier this year. If that's not enough, tentative plans call for "some sort of mayhem in New Orleans" with Phillip "Tuba Love" Frazier of the Rebirth Brass Band, and recording sessions in New York with the Elegant Twins (Skeleton Key's Chris Maxwell and former Brave Combo bandmate Phil Hernandez).

And Cripps has penciled in another trip to Havana in December -- pending government approval -- performing with Martin at the Havana Jazz Festival. In the meantime, he will be appearing at Dan's Bar on Monday nights with Norte de Habana through July, and "roaming the streets of Denton, listening for music coming from houses and then knocking and demanding to be included in the merriment." Just try to keep him away.

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