Album review–Charlette Clark 11/15/2021If I had to choose only one word to describe Jonathan Davis’s recent album Mela-D, that word would be “Unpredictable”. Unpredictable because it’s rare that an album written and produced by an accomplished drummer encompasses such rich melodies infused with light, thoughtful chord changes and beautiful vibrations. Unpredictable, because the offerings displayed on every masterful, high energy track leaves room for each musician’s instrument to be heard. The accompanying artists completely, unapologetically fill the spaces in between complex, yet perfectly placed, explosive drum solos. I’d describe the compositions as “Unanticipated”, because the album (which gives a healthy nod to traditional and contemporary jazz, rock and funk, electronica, Latin and West African rhythms) is full of variability without sounding impulsive or erratic. The musicians have done an exceptional job of giving each genre it’s proper due, along with abrupt (but well placed) tempo and key changes-all without changing the flow of the songs. Even the deliberate choice by the artist to incorporate high energy, positive, affirming tones as the common thread connecting each song from beginning to end on the recording was a refreshing change from the norm. The joyfulness of Mela-D practically sneaks up on you and settles deep in your soul. Then, before you know it, you’re joyful, too. This album, and the various collaborations that brought it to life, is a far cry from what you might expect from a young drummer on his sophomore album. His riveting command of the drums brings every solo to the edge of insanity, right before returning that raw energy back to the song in a controlled, skillful manner. This isn’t just series of songs designed to showcase drummer’s skills and percussion combinations. Hardly. It a complete composition of a work brought to life by several notable artists who assembled together to spread joy to the listener and it’s obvious that Jonathan Davis enjoyed sharing in the songs’ joy with his fellow musicians. The originality of the entire work is surprisingly contemporary while simultaneously it still pays homage the purity of jazz and to countless categories of music without disturbing the continuity of the flow. If I could only choose one word to describe the uplifting upswing of the keys, serene sounds of the flute (yes, flute), the urgency of the snares/bass, the compelling guitar rifts, the unmistakable sound of the saxophone and undeniable presence of the trumpet, again, I’d have to use the word “Unpredictable”. But thank goodness, I have the luxury of using more than word. May I implore you to indulge in the luxury of giving Mela-D more than one listen. It will take more than one pass to get everything that this album has to offer.