Supergroup Dinner Party Releases Debut


Dinner Party is the recorded collaboration of producer 9th Wonder, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin and keyboardist Robert Glasper.

(Photo: YouTube)

Friendships forged between young musicians can lead to magnificent collaborations. Sometimes those collaborations happen right away, and other times they bloom decades later. Long-term friendships were one of the key ingredients to the creation of the supergroup Dinner Party, whose self-titled album is out now.

Saxophonist Terrace Martin and keyboardist Robert Glasper met at a jazz band camp in 1996. After touring together in recent years as members of the band R+R=NOW, Martin and Glasper decided to form Dinner Party, recruiting jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington and hip-hop producer 9th Wonder for the project. Martin’s connection to Washington dates back to 1992, when the two were in a high school jazz band together.

Five of the seven tracks on Dinner Party (Sounds of Crenshaw/Empire) feature contributions from vocalist Phoelix, including the first two singles: “Freeze Tag” and “Sleepless Nights.” The group released music videos for both tracks, with the former chronicling some of the recording sessions at Chalice studios in Los Angeles, and the latter being an animated clip depicting the musicians as outer-space voyagers who land their spaceship in the Leimert Park neighborhood of L.A.

The album was recorded in 2019, and its lyrics point to some of the horrors and injustices that have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.

In the song “Freeze Tag,” Phoelix sings a sweet hook that contrasts with harshness of the lyrics, which address police aggression: “They told me put my hands up behind my head/ I think they got the wrong one … They told me if I move, they gon’ shoot me dead.”

“When people write songs about police brutality, often it’s more of a hardcore rap where you can feel the anger,” Glasper recently told the Los Angeles Times. “We came from a Marvin Gaye standpoint where the music and vibe is calm, but the message is ‘What are you doing? Come on.’”

A glance at the core musicians’ past credits and collaborations illustrates why the band has been dubbed a supergroup. Martin, Glasper and Washington all contributed to Kendrick Lamar’s landmark 2015 hip-hop album, To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath). Martin’s credits include work with Travis Scott, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg.

Producer and beat-maker 9th Wonder (aka Patrick Douthit) has worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop and r&b, including Jay-Z, Rapsody, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Drake, Nipsey Hustle and Anderson .Paak. DB

Dinner Party tracklist:

1. Sleepless Nights (featuring Phoelix)

2. Love You Bad (featuring Phoelix)

3. From My Heart and My Soul (featuring Phoelix)

4. First Responders

5. The Mighty Tree

6. Freeze Tag (featuring Phoelix)

7. LUV U

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