The (com)passion of Karuna: old friends-percussionists Adam Rudolph and Hamid Drake join forces with saxophonist Dave Liebman

Liebman, Rudolph, Drake are Karuna | photo courtesy of the artist

From its name — the Tibetan word for compassion — to its conscious interplay and improvisation (or spontaneous composition), Karuna radiate soul, intimacy and humanity. Part of this touch-sensitivity surely stems from the fact that the trio’s two percussionists, Adam Rudolph (djembe, congas, tarija, sintir, electronics) and Hamid Drake (kit, vocals, frame drum) palled around as kids in Chicago, are dear friends, and have played together in diverse bands from leaders such as Baba Fred Anderson, Don Cherry, Yusef Lateef, Pharaoh Sanders, Hassan Hakmoun and more.

After one loving recording with reeds man Ralph M. Jones, Karuna’s Rudolph and Drake are touring and making music with legendary tenor and soprano saxophonist (to say nothing of bamboo flautist) Dave Liebman for an album called Chi, due out in February. Before that release, the trio (who also go by Liebman Rudolph & Drake) make a pit stop at Boot & Saddle on Monday, January 14, under the watchful curatorial eye of Philadelphia’s Ars Nova Workshop.  I caught up with Rudolph at home in New York City, just days before the live proceedings to see what friendship and fire mean to this union. Continue reading →


Drake, Migos and Meek Mill rock the first “Aubrey & The Three Migos” tour date at Wells Fargo Center

Drake | Photo by Jesse Faatz/Wells Fargo Center

Never underestimate the power of a hit. Or 180+ of them, the number of songs that Drake has placed across several smash single forums in his decade working the ropes of the recording biz. For when Drizzy and Atlanta’s Quavo, Offset and Takeoff‎ sold out the first of two shows for its “Aubrey & The Three Migos” showcase at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, there was little for the pairing to do, but perform its wealth of best-known songs. The fact that Philly’s own Meek Mill, Drake’s longtime nemesis, joined the party at the end of Drizzy’s set just made the night that much greater.

Continue reading →


Watch Drake and Meek Mill call off their beef onstage

photo by Anthony Hilliard | via Instagram

After a three-year beef that began with a single tweet, Drake and Meek Mill have called a truce. During his Aubrey & The Three Migos Tour stop in Boston on Saturday, Drake brought out the Philly rapper for a performance of “Dreams and Nightmares” and the two even embraced onstage. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Drake and Migos will headline the Wells Fargo Center in September

Migos and Drake | still from video

Pair up and artist at the top of his game with a trio of fast-rising superstars, and you’ve got one arena-sized show not to miss. Toronto king Drake is readying the release of his fifth LP, and the teaser tracks so far — particularly the Lauryn Hill-sampling “Nice For What” — have been super enticing. Meanwhile, Migos impressed on this winter’s expansive Culture II, their third LP (and second featuring a Drizzy collab, the standout “Walk It Talk It”). Continue reading →


Dan Reed and Robert Drake talk winter storms, Cookie Rabinowitz shares an “instant song” called “Bomb Cyclone Shuffle”

DJ Robert Drake | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

In case you’ve not heard already, the next few days are going to get cold. Like, colder than it’s been. I’m talking caps lock COLD. But, for a levelheaded assessment of the weather and what it’s going to do, it’s always good to turn to DJ Robert Drake. For not being a meteorologist — at least not in a greater-than-hobbyist sense — he has an astonishing degree of accuracy (via his Twitter and other social media channels) reading weather patterns and determining what storms are going to do, as compared to the people who actually make weather predictions their job.

Today he appeared on the air with WXPN’s Dan Reed and shared what he sees as the reason why: he doesn’t buy into the hype, he just calls the shots like he sees them, and he explained to Reed the nuances of what accelerated drops in atmospheric pressure are going to do to the eastern seaboard over the next two days. Reed, by admission, totally loves the hype element of extreme weather, and rang up his friend Cookie Rabinowitz earlier in the afternoon to record an “instant song” about the forecast. 40 minutes later, “Bomb Cyclone Shuffle” was ready to go, complete with a Robert Drake name drop, just in time for the show. Listen to the interview and song below. Continue reading →


Robert Drake returns for the 25th Annual #XPNNightBefore – and the second Holiday Card-Tastrophe!

Robert Drake gets ready for #XPNNightBefore | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A quarter century ago, WXPN was in need of a body – any body – to work Christmas Eve. It was that pre-digital era when specialty shows were broadcast from reel-to-reel tape, which meant someone had to thread the shows into the machines and hit play/stop at the right cues. With no real plans in place, I volunteered to work – as long as the station would allow me an hour or two to play songs from my personal collection of holiday music. What they didn’t know was that, since I was a teenager, I began collecting obscure Christmas records. Over time I had a bizarre collection which was just begging for a little airplay. That was Christmas Eve 1993. Continue reading →


Celebrate Christmas with DJ Robert Drake on the latest Dan and Dan Music Podcast

For this year’s final episode of The Dan and Dan Music Podcast, Dan Reed and Dan DeLuca join forces with XPN’s resident Christmas music expert Robert Drake to discuss the best and worst sounds of the season (after they get through some opening banter on Bob Seger).

Continue reading →