Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Groove Legacy

Groove Legacy

Established as a tribute to soul-jazz such as represented by the legendary Crusaders, The Meters, JB Horns, and Stuff, Groove Legacy is led by established mainstay musicians of the road and studio: Saxophonist Paul Cerra and keys master Bill Steinway, alongside bassist Travis Carlton (Larry’s son). Blues guitar virtuoso Kirk Fletcher, emerging drum star Lemar Carter, rhythm guitarist Sam Meek and trombonist Andrew Lippman join Groove Legacy on stage and record, along with guest appearances from Robben Ford and Larry Carlton. Groove Legacy has not attempted to copy the classic funk and soul-jazz recordings, but rather provides us on the eponymously titled recording with ten originals that evoke this bygone musical era.

The mood is set by the opening "Sweetness (For Walter Payton)" with the twin horn lines of saxophonist Cerra and trombonist Lippman setting the mood over a funky groove with Travis Carlton's bass lines helping set the foundation with soulful tenor sax from Cerra followed by Fletcher's bluesy guitar. Sam Meek's guitar, along with  honking sax by Cerra and some blustery trombone, is featured on "Odd Couple." 

Cerra and Travis Carlton collaborated on the bluesy "Cornell," dedicated to Cornell Dupree, with appearances from Ricky Peterson on Hammond B-3 and Larry Carlton on guitar. Robben Ford's blues-rock guitar, along with Bill Steinway's Fender Rhodes piano and Cerra's tenor sax, is spotlighted on another bluesy number,"The Know It All." Having long been a fan of Kirk Fletcher, it is nice to hear him in the funky, non-blues, context on "Moneybags."

Nothing fancy about the music on this recording. Groove Legacy pretty straight R&B flavored jazz that should  appeal to those that want danceable, funk grooves and the husky solos that propel these performances.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the July-August Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 367), although I have made stylistic changes and corrections to what was run there. Here is Groove Legacy performing "Moneybags."

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