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Published: 2004/05/29
by Matt Brockett

Coast to Coast – Maximum Grooves

Telarc 83589
Producer/composer/keyboardist Jason Miles is both stuck in the past and embracing the future. On Coast To Coast, he has enlisted the help of many different musicians, who appear in various combinations throughout the album. Guitarists like Derek Trucks and Buss Feiten, and sax players like Jeff Kashiwa and Walter Beasley, are but a few of the 30 musicians that make up the session group collectively known as Maximum Grooves.
Miles adds modern technology to the recording process and still achieves a very retro sound. The laidback urgency of tracks like "Karma Kanic" and "Hipnotize" manages to successfully keep the roots in the past while branching out into the future. You get the contemporary jazz of the late ’70s and early ’80s, spiced up with the addition of drum loops, and there’s even some unexpected DJ-like effects now and then. It’s like a groove-based remix of the smooth, slightly funky jazz that was always playing at the dentist’s office when you were a kid.
The chance to hear Derek Trucks in a jazz setting on "You Da Mann" is interesting indeed. The tune is Miles’ tribute to an old friend, the late jazz flutist Herbie Mann. It is a slow groove with a jazzy twist on Trucks’ trademark bluesy leads. With a reggae-tinged rhythm guitar lick appearing midway through the tune, it is probably the most modern sounding track on the album.
Coast To Coast is your parents’ jazz after it has been sexed up and grooved out. If music is the soundtrack to our lives, then this is the perfect soundtrack for the kind of fairy-tale romantic New York City evening you always see in the movies.

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