Euge Groove,
Just Feels Right
(Narada, 2005)

We all tend to like music that we grew up with. Sax player Euge Groove (Stephen Eugene Grove) is no exception. On this CD he is returning to 1976, the year he entered high school. He even recorded it on gear from that era, later having the result translated to a digital format.

The '70s was the heyday of funk, but fortunately Groove does not immerse himself in that overly familiar style. On the other hand, this CD sounds a lot more like present-day smooth jazz than a blast from the past. Groove's sax is forward in the mix, without any squeaks or harsh notes, although his attack is somewhat stronger than other smooth jazz artists.

He is backed with a lot of keyboards, with the guitar, bass and drums being generally less prominent. The last of the 11 tracks, "Ballerina Girl," differs by having an orchestral string backup to Groove's horn. The musicians are well-known in the jazz field, including James Gadson on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Clarence McDonald on keys, Ray Parker Jr. and David T. Walker on guitar, and Lenny Castro on percussion.

There was more experimentation in jazz in the '70s than perhaps any other period in history. On this CD, though, Groove pretty much sticks to "pop" jazz, such as doing a cover of "Just My Imagination." The tracks are relatively short, most five or six minutes, and two are less than a minute long.

Smooth jazz fans, particularly those who like a subdued '70s feel, are the audience who will groove to this release.

by Dave Howell
3 February 2007

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