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John JR Robinson: Platinum

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His bio proclaims him the most-recorded drummer in history. He’s performed on tons of songs from top artists: Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Lionel Richie, Madonna. He’s John JR Robinson, and if you aren’t familiar with his name, you ain’t the only one. After all, he’s a session drummer; you’re not supposed to know his name. But maybe it’s time to pay attention, as Robinson’s second solo CD expands the breadth of his style with a work that shows off his affection for funk and blues.

Platinum is a CD for drummers, but it’s more for fans of groove-jam music with some of today’s grittiest singers. (Robinson also plays keys.) Robbie Wyckoff, who sang lead on Roger Waters’ 2010 tour where he performed Pink Floyd’s The Wall in its entirety, is on three tunes, including the funky “You Understand.” On “The Beat,” Keb’ Mo’ and his deep, old-time-style vocals are divine, and Hawk Wolinski (Rufus, Chaka Khan) adds grace to “A Love Supreme.” And you won’t soon forget the rap of Chris Robinson, a.k.a. JJ Hennessy, on the basketball-loving “March Madness,” complete with the following girl-cheer: “R-o-w-d-i-e: That’s the way we spell rowdy.”

There are also four instrumentals, and Robinson’s percussive skills get a workout on “George,” a free-form jazz piece with Lou Marini simply tearing it up on soprano sax.

Originally Published