When supergroups form there can often be a lot of hype with smoke and mirrors with little substance, but when some of the most talented modern musicians and producers come together on a single project, you know it will be good. Dinner Party is the collection of Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington and 9th Wonder – some of jazz, soul and hip-hop’s great producers and artists.
They have been friends for years, but now after many nights, shows, sessions and dinner parties together, they have recorded an album to tie everything together. The idea first came about when Martin and Glasper were on tour together. They have been friends since 1996 at a jazz band camp. Martin then called upon Washington, who he had met in 1992 in high school jazz band and then 9th Wonder joined to make this sound great. At the end of 2019, they rented Chalice Studios in Los Angeles and put the finishing touches on this debut project.
What makes this project great is that there is no one dominant force or seemingly battle between the artists for air time. They all let their instruments and talents quietly (or not) flow effortlessly alongside each other – a byproduct of those decades of friendship first forged in early jazz camp and bands.
The album is only seven songs so it is an easy and smooth listen all the way through. There are four vocal tracks with Phoelix that add another soulful layer over smooth, Dilla-esque beats and horns. The album is a swirling blend of cosmic funk, free jazz and soul that come together just right. It also arrives at the right time when the impact of black artists on the greater music industry is being examined again -- this combination of jazz, soul, hip-hop and funk (all things they created) serves as an important reminder of that vital black musical legacy.
Dinner Party is supposed to feel as fun and joyous as a dinner party with friends. It actually feels like the perfect music for your next dinner party, so turn this up and let the good times roll.
Listen to the full project below and get your copy here.