Jonah David

Jonah David.

True fusion music, when well-done, is a joy to discover. It’s how I first came across Jonah David.

His band at the time, Matisyahu, broke into mainstream consciousness in 2006 with an unheard-of combination of reggae, beatboxing, hip-hop and alt-rock, all backing up a charismatic Orthodox-Jewish rapper. This unlikely combination worked, and the band scored a top-40 hit with their song, “King Without a Crown”.

As the drummer, Jonah was responsible for the blending of those great rhythm traditions. He did it as seamlessly as if they had always grown up together. Ten years later, I am still in awe of the conceptual perspective it took to make this happen.

In some ways, he reminded me of the second coming of Stewart Copeland; in other ways, he reminded me that music is an art form that never moves back, even as it enjoys the privilege of looking back.

Jonah left Matisyahu in 2007. The band hasn’t broken the upper reaches of the charts since, but at any rate, Jonah’s unique work there was done. Recently he has resurfaced in a premier rock band for the US Navy called Electric Brigade, following in the footsteps of military performing band stars like Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham.

When a drummer breaks as many barriers all at once — and with such a flourish — as Jonah did, I want to hear what he’s listening to these days. Thank you for your service, and welcome to Drummeradio, Jonah.

Listen to the Jonah David Podcast

Jonah David Playlist

Youth — Matisyahu

Album: Youth, 2006
Drums: Jonah David

For Big Sid — Max Roach

Album: Drums Unlimited, 1966
Drums: Max Roach

Tchokola — Brice Wassy

Album: N’Ga Funk, 1996
Drums, various percussion: Brice Wassy
Congas: Arnold Mueza, Biboul Darouiche

Manic Depression — Jimi Hendrix

Album: Are You Experienced?, 1967
Drums: Mitch Mitchell

Concrete Jungle — Bob Marley and the Wailers

Album: Catch a Fire, 1973
Drums: Carlton Barrett

Actual Proof — Herbie Hancock

Album: Thrust, 1974
Drums: Mike Clark

Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Don’t Got the Go-Go Swing) — Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers

Album: Live: D.C. Bumpin’ Y’all, 1987
Drums: Ricky “Tricky Sugar” Wellman

The Kicker — Grant Green

Album: Solid, 1964/1979
Drums: Elvin Jones

Right On — Ray Barretto

Album: Barretto-Power, 1970
Congas: Ray Barretto
Timbales: Orestes Vilato
Bongos: Tony Fuentes

Root Down (And Get It) — Jimmy Smith

Album: Root Down, 1972
Drums: Paul Humphrey

The Weight — The Band

Album: Music From Big Pink, 1968
Drums: Levon Helm

When the Saints Go Marching In — Sweet Emma and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Album: New Orleans’ Sweet Emma and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band, 1964
Drums: Cie Frazier

Jonah David’s Website