Every month there are new discs being released with a lot of expectations from both fans and musicians a like. Every now and then there are discs that are released that become special and are instant classics that become main stays for years to come. The latest from saxophonist Euge Groove has that feel to it. The concept has been in the making since March of 2004 and gets its roots from the music of 1976. Both the musicians as well as the method for recording are borrowed from the same year. Percussionist, Lenny Castro; guitarists, David Walker and Ray Parker Jr., along with drummer James Gadson, bassist Freddie Washington and finally keyboardist Clarence McDonald were brought in to lay down these live tracks on analog recording equipment. Industry veteran Bill Schnee was brought in to mix the final product and Robert Hadley converted these analog tapes into pure digital bliss. The result is an old fashioned feel, with a modern flair. Not only does it just feel good, it Just Feels Right.
“Give Me A Lick” is thirty second keyboard warm up for the charging “Get Em Goin'.” This is one of my favorite tracks on the disc and Euge (aka Steve Grove) sends his sax soaring. This one contains those phrase progressions that make Groove a favorite. This is a bouncy little number that should be great live. Tony Maiden is brought in for some doo-wop guitar work, and the recorder keeps running long after the song would normally be finished. “Chillaxin” is exactly as the words sound. It's laid back with Groove featured on soprano. “Just My Imagination” is a cover tune of the Smoky Robinson original that features Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar. “Gonnatakeuhigher” is another 30 second peek into one of the bands jam sessions. “Straight Up” is anything but that. The whole first half of the song is a set up for the second echo induced chorus and great finish of guitar riffs and sax.
The pace changes for the love song “This Must Be For Real.” It's light, airy and has that night club type feel to it. Just when you think you know where it's going, Peter White steps in to add a signature passage from his guitar. Groove continues on and finishes out the set. The title track incorporates live strings, and serves as a canvas for the soprano's multi-paints. The sax tells a story as it travels through ear pleasing phrases and returns to a melodic theme. “12:08 A.M.” has that last call sound to it. The intro has a club feel to it before lending itself to a purpose driven sax work of Groove. The phrase progressions are inspiring as he weaves from the heart. They're played with the soul that makes this artist such a fan favorite. This one's nice. “Ballerina Girl” closes out the set. The warm strings introduce this one as the soprano lightly dances from my speakers. There's a nice follow up of acoustic guitar then piano at the break before closing with the soprano theme once more. This would be a nice one for any ballerina. A surprise at the end makes it complete.
This fourth release has had a lot of effort put in to it by Euge. Most of the offerings here are strong, and have a fresh feel to them. It makes you wonder what the “album” would have sounded like instead of the disc. The effort pays off, and the sax player continues to climb like his soaring solos. Be sure to check out Just Feels Right from Euge Groove.
- Harvey Cline