Years ago I stumbled upon an interview with the late Maurice White, where the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire founder explained how he, and nearly every member of the colossal soul and funk ensemble, was able to hold it down behind the drum kit. Though it appears to have disappeared from the internets since, that interview proves a point that few care to discuss; how some of the most polished songwriters of our lives were also technically and rhythmically proficient beyond measure.
In the case of NYC jazz upstarts, Freelance, Tim Smith carries on this legacy of drummer-turned-frontman with expert precision. So precise, in fact, that when a friend of mine was scouting drummers for his group, he dragged me (reluctantly at the time) to one of the band’s performances, where we assumed Smith would be manning the kit. You know what they say about those that assume, right? Instead, Smith lead the group through a dazzling 45-minute set of jazz. soul and r&b akin to The White Brothers’ heyday, commanding even those in the comforts of the venue’s second floor to descend upon the few spaces left by the stage. It was the best possible way to learn that the drummer was painfully overqualified for whatever gig we were about to pitch him. We decided against it after a retooling smoke outside.
Today, we’re happy to bring you a new video from the group, bringing their infectiously slick single “Band Plays On” to life. The clip was shot at Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody and directed by Sebastian Prudent (of SP1 Films,) finding the band in full spirits, cups spilling over with joy, as the cut’s driving horn arrangements and instantly-embedded hook call feet to the floor. Watch the video below and see if you can resist the urge.