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Questlove, friends and food at The Blue Note

December 4, 2011

I’m really into the game of making people guess, is it a machine, or is it him?” says Thompson, who also goes by the name ?uestlove (pronounced “Questlove”). One famous example is the Roots’ biggest hit, “You Got Me,” which sounds for all the world like a programmed side stick pattern – until Thompson cuts loose with a blazing drum-and-bass groove. Like much of Thompson’s work, the passage is startling, witty, and funky.

“Hip-hop is based in rhythm, repetition, and perfect time,” says Thompson. “With Roots stuff, I go for a more perfect, quantized-type sound than I would with, say, Erykah or D’Angelo. For D’Angelo’s Voodoo, we wanted to play as perfectly as we could, but then deliberately insert the little glitch that makes it sound messed up. The idea was to sound disciplined, but with a total human feel.” For Thompson, “human feel” is bred in the bone. His father was the leader of the ’50s doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Hearts, and Ahmir literally grew up onstage. “I was playing percussion at gigs from the age of seven because my parents didn’t believe in babysitters,” he says. “By 13, I was the musical director, and I stayed in that world until I got a record deal with the Roots at age 22.” And now he’s the ‘go to’ bandleader for the hip-hop nation along with heading up the best band in late night television!

There will be good food, great music, Rahzel AND Bobby McFerrin. Get yourself down to The Blue Note and live!

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