Jack De Johnette

Blue Note

Drummer/composer Jack De Johnette’s last solo projects with the ensemble Special Edition were well-meaning attempts at consolidating his career-long interest in diverse genres—including Native American music. But because his engaging omnidirectional drumming tended to get lost in the mix, these dates were often rudderless. Thankfully, the same cannot be said of Extra Special Edition, a collection on which De Johnette, saxophonist Gary Thomas, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, keyboardist Michael Cain, guitarist Marvin Sewell, and guest vocalist Bobby McFerrin interpret De Johnette originals like the moody but lovely “Rituals of Spring” and the comparatively swinging “Seventh D” with sincerity and ingenuity. De Johnette should also be praised for creating meaty vocal vehicles for the often annoying McFerrin, most delightfully the wobbly funk of “Elmer Wudd” and the equally greasy “Ha Chik Kah.”