Nate Smith's Pocket Change, reviewed by Cole Foster

Review: Pocket Change – Nate Smith ★★★★

Ever think there could be an album worth listening to with just drums? No, I’m not talking about Antonio Sánchez’s Birdman Soundtrack. But that is a good guess (if you haven’t heard it seriously look it up).

Pocket Change is an eleven-track album was composed, produced and performed by Nate Smith. Nate Smith is a 3-time Grammy nominee drummer and composer. His work is mostly in Jazz and R&B. He has played with many great players and groups. Some of which are Dave Holland, Chris Potter, and my favorite the Fearless Flyers. Fearless Flyers is a band made up of some of the members of the funk band, Vulfpeck (also check these guys out), with Smith on drums.

Not only has he played with great musicians, but he also helped produce one of Michael Jackson’s songs, “Heaven Can Wait.”

Pocket Change focuses on simple grooves that Smith then takes to the next level. He adds and layers these grooves. By the end of each track, the groove changes and becomes something different. Through the whole album, Smith gets very creative with these seemingly insignificant ideas and transforms them into something you can groove to.

One of my favorite examples of this on the album is the track, “DumDum.” And that’s what the main idea of the song is — two hits on the floor tom. As you listen to it you forget that you’re just listening to drums. It’s Smiths rare talent to take an instrument like the drums and make it melodic.


Here’s what Smith had to say about the album.

“The idea of the album is to use (seemingly) simple grooves as a launching pad,” Smith says. “My goal was to develop improvised thematic ideas within groove context to create a storytelling arc.”

I couldn’t have described it better myself.

Check this album out if you have an urge to hear some sick grooves and groove along with Nate. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

I give this album four stars.

Pocket Change is Nate Smith’s third album. Waterbaby Music released the album on September 28, 2018. This album was selected and reviewed by Cole Foster, published by The Ennui Project.


Cole Foster
Cole Foster is a Rexburg local, and the frontman for local rock'n'roll group, For Your Health. Foster is a contributing author for The Ennui Project and is the brains behind "The Peel" a podcast that peels back the musicians of Rexburg, Idaho.

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