Dinner Party: Dessert
Sounds of Crenshaw / EMPIRE
In the middle of this year (the American summer) a supergroup rather quietly snuck into place. All of its members had worked together in various combinations or at least mixed in the same musical circles – but it’s a stacked deck: Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper and beatmaker/producer 9th Wonder. The worlds of hip-hop, jazz and R’n’B swirling and softly-smooth grooves flowing – all of them multi-instrumentalists but masters of at least one instrument.
They released a charming wee EP named after the band – Dinner Party. And it’s low-key and lovely and the standout is one of the best political statements of the year in song, Freeze Tag. It tells the story of what it means to be black in America; the fear of being stopped by the police. But its anger is contained. The smoothness of the delivery allows it to sneak in Trojan Horse-style.
So, for this second serving – Dinner Party: Dessert – it’s the same tunes, reworked. More on the R’n’B tip and with some great guest stars. Herbie Hancock and Snoop Dogg, Tank and The Bangas, Rapsody.
They all bring their A-game too – Rapsody sounds like a young, vital Lauryn Hill on this rendition of The Mighty Tree. Snoop is as good as he’s been since back in the days of his debut on closer here, Luv U. And Punch and Bilal really light up First Responders.
But my favourite track on this version is the take on From My Heart And My Soul which features Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball (from Tank and The Bangas) and Phoelix and feels like a throwback to those great summer-chill hip-hop vibes from the early 00s. A sound I’ve been revisiting with much enjoyment.
As with the original Dinner Party EP this is slow-burn and no real flames but its warmth is palpable and comforting. I’m really digging it.
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