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