Euge Groove may be the smooth jazz answer to Brandford Marsalis...In the effort of equal time and fairness, "Groove" is playing the same tired shtick as Marsalis plays in the world of straight ahead jazz except Marsalis would seem to have the technical edge despite being under the misguided notion that New Orleans is the cultural center of the universe...I'm sure New York will be thrilled.
There are a ton of tired and incredibly played out issues on this particular release. To begin, Stephen Eugene Grove was born the day after I was...Euge Groove was a cute somewhat pretentious stage name back when smooth jazz held some relevance and vibe was the only thing that mattered. Chicago can get away with numbering virtually every release but one more release with "Groove" worked in and I'll be in the Home Depot line looking for a length of rope and rickety stool. Nothing "grooves" on this release at all, not even close. The tunes here are the same pretty easy listening on steroids that seem designed to help that late 40 something crowd to deal with the fact that middle age is not approaching - it is here!
Before anyone thinks I am out to trash a smooth jazz artist for the pleasure of doing so then read this paragraph carefully. Does Groove cut any new ground at all? No and the sad thing is he never has while riding the smooth jazz one trick pony for all it is worth. Groove can play, Just Feels Right from 2005 shows an edgy more border line fusion more so than the slow jam chill oriented sonic sleeping pill this release is. There are some stellar guest artists on here including, Vocal soft soul tracks featuring Jeffrey Osborne, Chioma and Kate Miner Moebel. Put Jesus Christ behind the mixing board and have the Pope as co-producer and this release has still been sanitized for your protection with such a sterile and over produced hand it literally sucks the life out of what is for my money a fine player and sincerely committed artist to his fans. (Put a piece of tape over the compression slide/button).
If you like Euge Groove you should like this fine. If you are on the fence then keep looking. If you own some Euge Groove but are still on the fence...It's your money. Just remember this is 58:56 seconds of your life you can't get back. The difference between this and any other Groove release is razor thin at best. I don't blame Stephen. Shanachie has been putting out watered down product such as this for years. Hopefully Eugene Grove can find a new label soon. With the Sax Pack reshuffling personnel and now this? I believe the product speaks for itself. Before smooth jazz fans decide on the tree with the sturdiest branch remember this, I have given positive reviews to Norman Brown, Gerald Albright, Acoustic Alchemy, Julian Vaughn, The Rippingtons etc...So why pick on Stephen Eugene Grove other than for the blatantly obvious. This is simply a poor rehash of what sounds like most everything else. I'm just the messenger.
Tracks: Knock Knock! Who's There?; House of Groove; Fellowship Hall; God Bless You; Lampin' It; Old Edu; Indian Summer; Never Met A Woman; Faithful Central; It's Only Rain.
Not the worst release of the year by fair...But a bust none the less. I realize an artist is as creative as he or she feels the need but if this is jazz then Nicholas Payton must be the savior of Archaic Pop...