Chris Dave and the Drumhedz

ICYMI: Chris Dave released a 2018 LP ft. Anderson Paak, Bilal, Phonte, Elzhi & more

So much music comes out all year, and even with our daily new song roundups; weekly Notable ReleasesIndie Basement, and Upcoming Metal Releases columns; and monthly playlist of songs we like, we still miss stuff. Now that we’re in the final month of 2018 and looking back on all the music that came out this year, we’ll be publishing a post every weekday in December that catches up on some music released this year that we feel we didn’t shine enough of a light on, or didn’t discuss at all. The music we’ll be highlighting wasn’t necessarily “overlooked” in any broader sense of the word, just cool stuff worth catching up on in case you missed it.

There were a lot of great jazz albums with hip hop crossover released this year, and one that we didn’t give enough attention to was the self-titled album by Chris Dave and the Drumhedz. Chris Dave is a drummer who’s probably best known for playing alongside Robert Glasper in the genre-defying Robert Glasper Experiment, and you’ve also heard him hitting the skins on hip hop and R&B albums like Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’night, D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, and Anderson .Paak’s Malibu. But he’s becoming a force of his own as a bandleader too, and Chris Dave and the Drumhedz is proof of that.

Of all the “jazz albums that hip hop fans would like” coming out lately, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz is one of the most accessible, as it’s filled to the brim with guest appearances from rappers and R&B/soul singers. Anderson .Paak shows up to dominate “Black Hole,” and he also joins forces on “Clear View” with the TDE-signed SiR, who also shows up on “Dat Feelin'” and joins forces with frequent Kendrick Lamar collaborator Anna Wise on “Job Well Done.” The standout “Destiny N Stereo” brings Little Brother’s Phonte and Slum Village’s Elzhi together for a veteran rap fest, which is rounded out by R&B singer Eric Roberson. Neo-soul great Bilal teams up with Missy Elliott collaborator Tweet to help make “Spread Her Wings” a standout. And so on. Not to mention Glasper also plays on this, as do other great jazz/hip hop crossover artists like keyboardist James Poyser (of The Roots) and bass clarinet/tenor sax player Marcus Strickland, and that’s A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad‘s voice in the mix on “Whatever.” Chris Dave and the Drumhedz kind of plays out like a “various artists” rap album, but with an ace jazz band holding things down instead of a selection of beats. It’s a cool album (that you can stream below), and people are taking notice. Just today, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album alongside The Carters, Chloe x Halle, Miguel, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

As recently mentioned, Chris Dave is bringing the Drumhedz to NYC Winter Jazzfest. They’re playing a set on January 12 at Bowery Ballroom, and that show also includes James Poyser with special guest Bilal, Justin Brown’s NYEUSI with special guest Georgia Anne Muldrow, a Roy Hargrove tribute, and Blaque Dynamite & The Murder Angels (tickets).

Stream Chris Dave and the Drumhedz:

Don’t miss a thing! Browse our ICYMI tag, being added to every day in December.