Dave has contributed his groundbreaking, explosive yet deeply soulful drumwork to albums by a broad array of artists from Adele to D’Angelo, Maxwell and Meshell Ndegeocello. The offerings on this album, which dropped Jan. 26 on Blue Note Records, range from the funky, instantly contagious “Dat Feelin’” (featuring SiR) to the delectable slow jam that is “Cosmic Intercourse” (with vocals by Stokley Williams) to the kaleidoscopic, hard-hitting “Lady Jane”. The iconic jazz label is home to pianist Robert Glasper, who also appears on the album, with other jazz musicians including trumpeter Keyon Harrold and saxophonists Marcus Strickland and Casey Benjamin. The core crew of Pino Palladino (bass), Isaiah Sharkey (guitar), Cleo “Pookie” Sample (keys) and Sir Darryl Farris (vocals) is joined by numerous others including James Poyser (the Roots), Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), Anderson .Paak, Bilal, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Goapele and Phonte. But don’t let this long list of collaborators fool you; it’s the man with the drumsticks who’s leading the proceedings, with a voice all his own.
Dave’s playing is known for its sophistication, imagination, fire and virtuosity (astounding The Time, he learned to play the drum part for “777-9311,” which was created with a drum machine). And then there’s his unique way of choosing not only what but where to play, and where to leave space. Deceptively understated at times, you’ll need to go back to this album repeatedly to discover the exhilarating nuggets you may have missed.
@Okayplayer caught up with the Texas-born, 44-year-old legend over the phone who was about to go into the studio with The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson.