Songs We Like: Chris Dave And The Drumhedz, ‘Destiny N Stereo system’ Featuring Elzhi, Phonte Coleman & Eric Roberson
toggle caption Dante Marshall/Courtesy of the artist
Chris Dave possesses innumerable presents as a drummer, but chief among them is the ability to produce a groove just think … right. This isn’t as simple or straightforward a feat as it sounds. And it’s rather a recipe for invisibility, at least among the overall listening public.
For the smaller circle of admirers who produce a spot of checking the album credits, Dave is already a kind of legend, with a submit everything from the brand new Perfume Genius album to Adele’s blockbuster 21. (That’s right, Adele. Listen again to the way that the defeat rises on “Established Fire To The Rain,” and we’ll chat.) Dave was also the indefatigable rhythm engine on worldwide arena tours by D’Angelo and Maxwell. And of course, he was a founding member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, which earned a Grammy for Greatest R&B Album in 2013.
The Drumhedz, a shape-shifting concern that Dave formed around that time, pursues an identical nexus of dark-colored music: underground hip-hop, astral R&B, groove-forward jazz, spirit-minded soul. Some musicians in the fold, like bassist Pino Palladino and guitarist Isaiah Sharkey, will be fellow alumni of The Vanguard, D’Angelo’s touring band. Others, like trumpeter Keyon Harrold and keyboardist James Poyser, will be fellow travelers in this convergence of types.
Dave has promised a good full-length album from this crew for years, and it’s finally on the near-horizon: Chris Dave And The Drumhedz is due from Blue Note early found in the new yr. It features some four dozen musicians from the bigger Drumhedz relatives, and guest vocals by Anderson .Paak, Anna Good, Kendra Foster and Goapele, among others.
The album’s lead single, “Destiny N Stereo,” includes a soulful hook sung by Eric Roberson, and surefooted rap verses by Elzhi, formerly of Slum Village, and Phonte Coleman, formerly of Little Brother. Opening with a montage of ambient radio samples, the monitor settles into a head-nod defeat similar to Dave’s rhythm lodestar, the revered maker J Dilla.
It’s a good first flavor of an album determined to stretch out from a good baseline of groove, while keeping both feet on the floor. As Elzhi places it here, “I know these lines will be up high above your head propelling / Y’all hit the mainstream to capture air time something like parasailing.”
Chris Dave And The Drumhedz comes out Jan. 26 via Blue Notice Records.