For die-hard Steely Dan fans such as myself, the name Bernard Purdie is instantly recognizable; he invented the Purdie shuffle! So for someone that so casually blew the perfectionist minds of Becker and Fagen with his rhythmic genius back in the late ’70s, Bernie’s bar for collaborating is obvious purdy high. Which brings us to Henry Roland.
Historically billing himself as Henry + The Invisibles, Roland semi-recently dropped the “backing band” portion of his handle in favor of something that better represents his one-man multi-instrumentalist endeavor, Henry Invisible. On top of his repertoire as a master singer, bassist, guitarist, and Native Instruments extraordinaire, one of Henry Invisible‘s biggest assets is his ability to make seamless loops on the fly, a testament to his talents in keeping time and inherent understanding of groove building. Henry’s virtual weekly “Lovestream” kept us affable company at the start of the pandemic, and fortunately for us, those dozens of original jams have been taking shape as fine-polished studio singles.
These days, with the mainstream resurgence of house music, we take the “four-to-the-floor” bass drum on the downbeat/hi-hat on the upbeat disco drum beat for granted. But when someone who essentially invented that style enters the studio with a young blood like Roland, all the life and nuance comes bounding back. With Purdie’s presence, “Dance Music Saves” is just that: pure disco-funk music in its fittest form, complete with the classic accouterments like gliding falsetto strings, simplistic lyrics that become hypnotic chants, stank face-inducing slap bass, sexy electric piano chords, and of course, those driving drums. Catch all that and more in person at Henry Invisible’s Friday residency at Meridian, kicking off this weekend.
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