Beyond his sheer virtuosity and versatility, drummer Adam Deitch has proven to be a musician of perpetual motion. In just over a year’s time, he has been the driving force behind psychedelic funk veterans Lettuce’s eighth studio album 'Unify', released a hip-hop beats album 'TAKE YOUR TIME', and now returns with the second LP release from his soul-jazz project The Adam Deitch Quartet. 'Roll The Tape', available on Deitch’s imprint Golden Wolf Records on November 10, 2023, exemplifies his unwavering commitment to producing authentic music from a broad spectrum of styles, all rooted in his tutelage of rhythmic studies & groove, and his upbringing as a drummer from a young age. The album features organist Wil Blades, Lettuce cohorts Eric “Benny” Bloom on trumpet and Ryan Zoidis on saxophone, and a feature from legendary guitarist John Scofield on the leading single “Mushroom Gravy”.
‘Roll The Tape’ was a 1-2 punch effort coming off the heels of Lettuce recording their next full-length album as Blades flew in to join Deitch, Bloom, and Zoidis for a session at Scanhope Sound. Written on ProTools in his home studio in Denver, Colorado, Deitch composed and arranged all parts for the quartet and provided demos for the band to learn on the spot, much like the quartet’s debut LP Egyptian Secrets. “I’d bring the tunes in, play them on the computer, have the guys learn them as fast as possible, and then ‘roll the tape,” Deitch says of the rigor of the back-to-back sessions and marathon studio effort that contrasted the band’s debut effort recorded in two sessions over the course of five years. While the process may seem overwhelming at first glance, Blades speaks to it being a testament to Deitch’s thorough composition process and wholeness as a musician, “I don’t change much of anything at all. All of the harmonies and voicings are spot on. I grew up as a drummer, so the way Adam plays organ is the way I’m already playing organ.”
The quartet was formed when Deitch and Blades joined forces to play a last-minute late-night show at Boom Boom Room in San Francisco after Lettuce performed at The Fillmore and Tedeschi Truck Band performed at Bill Graham Civic Center in December 2013. The impromptu after-show featured an array of special guests including Zoidis and Bloom along with Eric Krasno (Soulive), Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown (Anderson .Paak), and James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band) and Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band), both who left this earth all too soon. After additional performances at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and some one-offs, Deitch knew the project had to continue and took the reigns to get the group in the studio.
‘Roll The Tape’ features ten brand-new songs that transcend the traditional organ trio format and are accentuated by Deitch’s prowess for funk, breakbeat, hip-hop, and electronic music experiences coupled with highlighting the strengths of every musician in the group. “Wil and I are both basketball fans and homies. He is highly skilled with the organ pedals and lefthand bass and is super smart and easy to work with. Zoidis and Bloom always balance each other out with Zoidis bringing a psychedelic vibe with his effects and Benny bringing his wild, crazy Benny attitude as a great musician with great showmanship,” says Deitch.
The lead single “Mushroom Gravy” is a tribute to Deitch’s Grandma Betty’s chicken mushroom gravy. He cites that she was pivotal in his development as a drummer as her brother and his Great Uncle Dave was the first drummer in their family and helped his father, Bobby Deitch, become a professional musician. The track features John Scofield on guitar, who has worked with Deitch since the early 00s and has keen insight into his evolution as a musician and bandleader. “It’s tremendous fun to play with the quartet because they fully understand where I’m coming from and hopefully I “get” them the same way. I think Adam and I have very simpatico concepts in music,” says Scofield of their musical chemistry.
Of their collaborative history and Adam’s inherent impact he imparts with his collaborators, Scofield continues, “When I first played with Adam, I knew he was right for me. This kind of chemistry is hard to come by and I’ve only had it a handful of times in my life. Eric Krasno recommended Adam. When we first played together, I liked it so much that I had to change drummers in the band immediately. The result was Uberjam. This period marked a new direction in my career and without Adam, it wouldn’t have worked as well. I’ve heard him improve and get better - more refined- from that original already great drummer that I met way back when. He’s an excellent musician and one of the very best drummers period. Mad skills.”
“Have Faith” is a gospel-inspired mutual favorite of all members of the quartet. “It’s a tribute to a life-changing experience I had playing in a gospel church in 9th grade,” says Deitch. “I ended up becoming the drummer in two church bands in Nyack, NY where I grew up. Playing with an amazing choir watching them sway from left to right and clapping on two and 4 was amazing to observe when I was 16 or 17 and the rest of the band was in their 30s-50s. It put me ahead and really made me improve when I got to Berklee in 1994 and was pretty experienced in gospel, funk, and R&B music.” With a stunning organ intro by Blades, he nods to the influence Tower of Power transmits on the tune, “It’s also a Tower of Power kind of thing and Deitch is a huge Tower of Power guy. I’m a huge Chester Thompson fan, so this song is right up my alley.”
Not to be confused with the Arthur Schwartz jazz standard, “Alone Together” is an original composition written during the pandemic to express the universal sentiments of everyone being simultaneously isolated. It sees Deitch taking a rare direction with one of the first ballads he’s ever released. “I’m not a huge balladeer,” he explains, “It was peaceful and calming to play this big, beautiful piece with brushes contrasting the funky, hyper music I usually write.” Blades chimes in on the tune being a testament to Deitch’s dedication and musical maturity, “He’s constantly writing music at either 3 in the morning or on the tour bus after For a drummer to write that kind of harmony, it’s another example of him having everything completely fleshed out and finished—it has beautiful harmony and nice horn melody.”
For anyone who has ever had a conversation with Deitch, looked at his social media, or read any press about him, he is one to give credit where credit is due. “Play on Playa” is an example of that as it is a direct tribute to Soulive, longtime friends, and collaborators of the group who were pillars in establishing the modern funk & soul revival in the late 90s/early 00s as East Coast trailblazers. “I owe Soulive so much. They introduced me to organ trio music, helped Lettuce’s career, and molded us into the musicians we are today,” he proclaims.
Like ‘Egyptian Secrets’, ‘Roll The Tape’ features two “Language Interludes” where Deitch is playing solo drums. They are homages to ancient African traditions of using drums as a language to communicate anything from warning of intruders to calling over different villages to a ceremony. “These interludes communicate freedom without any sort of song form and create full sentences within the drums,” he says, “Most drum solos I play have some kind of horn hits or backgrounds and this was fun to play without anything else to authentically express how I’m feeling.”
‘Roll The Tape’ epitomizes Deitch’s strength for surrounding himself with the perfect collaborators for any scenario and his ability to make even mature, serious music, resonate with music lovers from all backgrounds and maintain the ability to have fun. “Even with harmonically dense songs, this music is fun and danceable,” says Bloom, “There are lots of crowd-pleasing elements and these tunes are fun to play live—we can go in so many different directions.”
‘Roll The Tape’ is available to listen to on all streaming platforms HERE.
For more information and to stay posted on all of Adam Deitch’s endeavors, visit deitchbeatsdontquit.com.