BEAT WEEK: HEART AND SOUL

Ebony Rhythm Band: Soul Heart Transplant & Light My Fire
From Soul Heart Transplant: The LAMP Sessions (Stonesthrow, 2004)

ED: I posted this a few weeks back and was about to take the link down but I realized it was perfectly apt for Beat Week so I’m bringing it back as a bonus post. Hope you enjoy. And seriously: Buy this album. It kicks major ass.

Step 1: Buy this album.

Step 2: Listen to drummer Matthew “Phatback” Watson.

Step 3: Get mind blown.

The first time I heard Indianapolis’ Ebony Rhythm Band on my man Egon’s game-changing Funky 16 Corners, then later on the 12″ release of “Soul Heart Transplant.” At the time, I guess I didn’t listen close enough but when I was enjoying their newly released anthology, the drumming jumped off the track, smacked me in the face, and then settled back in the pocket.

I’m not saying Watson was going to put Bernard Purdie or Idris Muhammed out of work back in the day, but you can tell on these songs (especially “Light My Fire”), this young drummer couldn’t wait to get his sticks on. Watson had formal marching band training in drum playing and you can hear it in his funk adapations: his breaks are doused in quick fills and rattling rolls. Even when he’s not soloing…he’s soloing. Egon told me that Watson’s drumming was the cause of exasperation for some of the other players since his frenetic polyrhythms made it harder for them to keep in the groove.

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