Nate Smith knows his way around a drum set. That is possibly the least of his skills and definitely not the highest on his resume ranking. Nevertheless, it warrants a mention. All too many drummers that become band leaders can forget that they are timekeepers, or need to be sometimes. This should not preempt any sort of fireworks or bold leadership. Smith is amply endowed with all those traits. But he can drive a band with the snappiest of drum licks.
Often hip hop influenced drummers rely too heavily on electronics to create those beat box effects. With the “Kinfolk” series, Smith and his bands are on a mission to show that an acoustically-driven drum track, along with a very earthbound ensemble can bring the funk as well as the dj’s and producers.
“Kinfolk 2: See The Birds” (Edition) is that kind of release that may not convert Grandpa to the ways of trip hop, but it’s sure to get lots of love from most quarters of music. The band includes: Saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, Jim Cowherd on the keys, Brad Allen Williams guitar and bassist Fima Ephron. There’s a Sting cover: “I Burn For You,” and an appearance from violin great Regina Carter. And another kinsman in the area of hip hop jazz bridging: Vibraphonist Joel Ross.