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Published: 2002/06/28
by Ray Hogan

Allophone – Addison Groove Project


Addison is the namesake of bassist John Hall's father and otherwise
meaningless. As for Project? Heck, at five years and counting this is a
band. Groove. That's a lot easier. It's essentially what this Boston-based
sextet is all about.

After the brief and misleading title track, which makes it seem as though
disc is a psychedelic space-rock experiment, AGP lays down 70 minutes of an
interesting mix of fusion and funk. The band's members are freshly out of
college but their influence and taste are far beyond their years. Fronted
by the inspired horn section alto saxophonist Dave Adams and tenor man Ben
Groppe (singer/guitarist Brendan McGinn also adds trumpet) and anchored by
the impressive rhythm section of Hall and drummer Andrew Keith, the group
brings a high level of musical aptitude to Allophone: like a lot of
jazz, this is music that is aimed at making you dance but is bolstered by a
high level of musicianship.

The standout tracks on this disc, and there are several, are aimed equally
your feet and mind. "Carpal Tunnel", in which the band is abetted by
turntablist Mister Rourke, is an intense funk workout while "Turning Point",
led by a hypnotic guitar riff and likely the disc's best cut, demonstrates
the band's knowledge of contemporary jazz. Keyboardist Rob Marscher was
heavily influenced by fusion and adds nice flourishes to the mix. McGinn
also sings on a handful of tracks (and to considerable results on "Breathe")
to give the disc a nice balance.

All that being said, Allophone could benefit from a little editing.
seemingly requisite young band reggae track could be done without and a few
of the tunes meander for a few minutes longer than they need to. These are
complaints – and will probably be rectified as the band matures – considering that Addison Groove Project has quickly established itself as
one of New England's funkier (and more gifted) exports.

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