D'Angelo's Works in Progress

It looks like there won't be another five-year wait for the next release from R&B heavyweight D'Angelo, but it will likely be something other than a D'Angelo album. Roots drummer ?uestlove, who played in D'Angelo's Soultronics touring band this year, tells Wall of Sound that he's working on a couple of different collaborative projects with the artist, both of which could be out sooner rather than later.

One is a Soultronics album that features not only ?uestlove but also instrumental aces such as Roy Hargrove, Frank Lacy, Terence Blanchard, and Jeff Lee Johnson, as well as producer James Poyser. ?uestlove says the 12-piece outfit's music won't be a "return to soul — I hate that 'this is the new soul' thing — [It will be] funk with a feeling. This was a very, very hot band, and we feel like it has a lot more potential than what we got to do during [D'Angelo's] tour."

Also in the offing, according to ?uestlove, is an offshoot project called the Soulquarians, which he's putting together with D'angelo and Poyser. "We want to leave that as us doing experimentation with people you don't normally associate with us," the drummer says. "I would like to grab nine female singers — established pop and R&B singers — and have them out of their element. I talked to Joan Osborne already; that would be great. We're going to try to reach out to more people soon."

Mindful of D'angelo's perfectionist work habits, ?uestlove — who also performs on Erykah Badu's new album — won't hazard a guess about when we might see some the final results from these collaborations. Meanwhile, he's busy planning for the next Roots record and has also been approached by former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha to help with his solo album.