It must have been my second or third semester in music school.
I'd long-since been introduced to the Dave Holland Quintet, with Billy Kilson...
...spent almost an entire summer wearing out Prime Directive whilutst sleeping off cannabis hangovers on my buddy Dan's couch...
...transcribed at least one Chris Potter solo to sing along with, then analyze for a term project in Dave Liebman's class.
Not to mention seeing the quintet live.
So when my buddy Scott told me that a guy named Nate Smith was now playing with Dave Holland, I assumed he was fucking with me.
"Nah, buddy. That's the ten-year plan. You're too soon with that."
Nope. Turned out he wasn't. Another, totally different Nate Smith was now playing with Dave.
There went my life's plan. The odds of lightening striking twice, and Dave hiring two guys with the exact same name seemed slim.
To make matters worse, Nate, when I finally listened to the new record, was killing.
Fast forward more years than I care to admit, (skipping past a bunch of years of Chris Potter's Underground band) and Nate's sounding better-than-ever, and writing great music.
The song that inspired this week's lesson is Skip Step, from the recent Kinfolk record, in particular the Tiny Desk performance.
Like Butcher Brown, about whom I just shot the lesson you'll see in two weeks, Nate and Kinfolk manage to "smooth the edges" of the previous generation's fusion. It's some part motown, some part Headhunters, many parts Dave Binney/55 Bar, and so on.
Skip Step epitomizes the group, and Nate's playing.
Make sure you grab the transcription below: