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Published: 2006/07/19
by Matt Brockett

People People Music Music – Groove Collective

Savoy Jazz Worldwide 17956

People People Music Music, the latest offering from talented New York City-based Groove Collective, is full of Afro-Cuban booty shakers and dreamlike jazz explorations. The emotive Afro-Cuban jazz of the opening "Forgotten Travelers" gets things going before the horn-laden goodness of "DFU," which features Liberty Ellman on guitar and funk royalty Fred Wesley on trombone.

The Collective's forays into the realm of electro-jazz are most obvious in the drum machine beats and sneaky bassline of "Kog," and the ever-changing spacey dance grooves of "Outermost." There's even a bonus live version of "Outermost" to give you a feel for Groove Collective's capabilities in the live setting. Their full on electronic music experiment comes in the form of "Set Up," with its programmed drums, synthesizers and distorted horn riffs.

There's even a sexy club jam, "What If," with guests DeLouie Avant, Jr. on vocals and Victor Axelrod on Rhodes. The tune is incredibly smooth, with Avant's vocals at times somewhere between D'Angelo and Sisqo (the "Thong Song" guy) if you can even begin to imagine that. Guest Eddie Bobe sings a tribute to the legendary Tito Puente on the Cuban flavored "Tito," the only other track on the album with a vocalist. Tightly composed genre-blending tunes full of multiple solo opportunities are a staple for Groove Collective, and they truly deliver with "Mambomongo" and "6 For Fred."

Genre-blending bands are incredibly popular these days, and rightfully so, as many of them can consistently produce exciting and unique new music. Audiences are eating it up, and the result is too many bands trying to keep up with the trend and forcing out tunes that sound completely contrived. Thankfully, groups like Groove Collective exist to remind the world that when you've got the talent, the soul and the sense of adventure to do it right, genre-blending is not only beautiful, it's natural.

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