Add to that another crowning achievement: DeJohnette's latest and arguably best album, Sound Travels (a co-release between Golden Beams and eOne). It's a superb genre-spanning, nine-song collection that grooves with Latin rhythms and West Indian energy, muses with meditative tunes, and buoys with straight-up jazz swing. Sound Travels features an array of collaborators, including vocalists Bruce Hornsby (on the funky, bluesy tune Dirty Ground that has AOR hit potential), Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding. Also on board are emerging talents such as trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and guitarist Lionel Loueke (and Spalding, who plays bass on seven of the tracks) and established jazz stars such as saxophonist Tim Ries, percussionist Luisito Quintero and, on one track, pianist Jason Moran.
But DeJohnette is the spotlighted star of the album. He composed all of the tunes (he co-composed Dirty Ground with Hornsby, who wrote the lyrics), he drums with his distinctive and passionate style, and he plays the piano (his first instrument on which he studied classical music from the age of 4 to 14) on nearly all the tracks, including the lyrical solo bookends.
DeJohnette's goal for the album was simple: I love to play grooves and beautiful melodies, he says. It was fun once we got started. It was like, let the juices flow.