Der Saxophonist Euge Groove gehört in den USA zu den meist verkaufenden Künstler des Contemporary Jazz. Eine geniale Mischung aus Contemporary Funk und Jazz.
Saxophonist & Composer Euge Groove Breaks New Ground With a Little Help From Some Friends including Peter White, Rick Braun, Jeff Golub, Paul Brown & Others
“It's always a tight rope to walk between staying true to what you do, true to what your following expects, and not being stale or doing the same ole same ole,” states consummate hitmaker, saxophonist and composer Euge Groove. “With all of the volatility in the music business lately, you have to allow yourself to take chances,” adds the prolific and down to earth saxophonist. Euge Groove has built an impressive career as a free spirit who remains true to his own artistic vision. It is no wonder the charismatic saxophonist has been able to record a string of #1 hits and garner a devoted following through his music which blurs musical boundaries and transcends age and race. Euge’s soulful and robust saxophone stylings, flair for R&B melodies and funk heavy grooves, have made him first call for such icons as Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, The Eurythmics, Tower of Power, The Gap Band and Joe Cocker. On S7VEN LARGE, Euge Groove's second Shanachie recording and seventh album overall, the consummate artist delivers nine timeless originals and one R&B classic that underscore why he has remained one of instrumental music's brightest stars. Euge created S7VEN LARGE from all sides of the microphone. This is the first album he has fully produced entirely himself. Musically he stretches out creating a beautiful collage of sound that weaves together like an entire cinematic score. “First, I knew I wanted a very modern sounding album. And in creating the compositions for the CD, I actually wrote the songs in the order that they are sequenced on the album,” shares the saxophonist who recorded the album in HD. “Traditionally, songs fade out on recordings, but this time all of the arrangements have endings. I also decided not to do any overdubbing or layering of the saxes, instead I used other instruments to lift the choruses, like brass sections, acoustic guitar or synthesizer parts. I also wanted more of an orchestrated feel, so I added textures like flutes, French horns and oboe to the scoring.”
The recording of S7VEN LARGE was a monumental undertaking in Eugene Grove’s life, befitting of this stage in the artist Euge Groove’s career. The number seven is a very powerful and significant number. God rested on the seventh day, there are seven wonders of the ancient world, seven celestial bodies visible to the naked eye, and many other miraculous instances of the number seven throughout history. “On my 7th, I’m hoping that listeners will hear the evolution and growth in my music,” says Euge. “My last recording SUNDAY MORNING had more of an old school sound, and this time out I wanted something more modern. I locked myself in my studio for five months and made this album. Once my head opens up to the process, I'm afraid to back off for even a second in fear I'll lose the momentum!”
S7VEN LARGE eases into things with an enticing and sweet number simply called “Track 1,” featuring Euge's soulful and free flowing soprano saxophone. Then Euge picks up his tenor for “The Funky Bunch,” an escalating, greasy and funky groove that keeps the feel-good vibe going strong. The poppin’ horn section and nasty minor 13 chords remind us that Euge graduated from the University of Tower of Power! Euge Groove is a master at crafting great feeling grooves with singable melodies. S7VEN LARGE seamlessly moves from one track to the next making it a joy to listen to in its entirety. The album’s title track is an uplifting number reminiscent of the title track of Euge's 2004 recording LIVIN’ LARGE. The counterpointal interplay between guitarist and labelmate Paul Brown and Euge is infectious. Bassist Corney Mims adds to the mix with an ultra funky slap bass solo in the breakdown that leads to a sexy and jazzy acoustic piano solo. At 5 1 / 2 minutes long, you really get a chance to hear Euge and the band stretch out.
A high point on the recording is Euge's emotional and tearful “Prayer for ☮.” The solemn intro, with a droning Fender Rhodes line, sitar and middle Eastern percussion, paints the canvas for Euge's melancholy and gospel tinged playing. “This is my prayer for the end of all the violence involving our troops in the Middle East. It's gone on way too long and my heart aches for these guys and their families,” states the saxophonist.” One listen to Euge Groove and it is apparent he has long had a love affair with the great R&B and gospel traditions. “I love Maxwell, Musiq, D'Angelo and all of their neo-soul counterparts,” confides Euge. “I've really been into gospel music lately, and of course Tower of Power had tremendous influence on me.” “Days of Soul” pays tribute to Euge's love of R&B. It’s heavily orchestrated arrangement and it's groove, reminiscent of the iconic Michael McDonald hit “I Keep Forgettin' ”, combine for a fresh combination of flavors. The lone cover on S7VEN LARGE is the Major Harris 1970s hit “Love Won't Let Me Wait,” which showcases a beautiful acoustic piano intro by Tracy Carter and fat, jazzy guitar lines from Paul Brown. Next, Euge serves up his take on a neo soul groove with “Gimme 6”. This cut features trumpeter Rick Braun layering the hook horn section.
The beautifully orchestrated “Welcome To The Journey,” is another example of Euge Groove's reach as a composer. “It has this journey vibe to it for some reason. It's like a quest for discovering things along the way,” shares the West Coast based saxophonist. This one is heavily orchestrated. In fact, the hook comes from the pizzicato strings,” states Euge. He draws inspiration from the sound of the classic CTI recordings with “To the Nines”…think Grover Washington, Jr. and Stanley Turrentine! The track has a lush and romantic feel (orchestrated by Gregg Karukas) while still retaining a soulful edge. “I wrote this song as a duet with Peter White in mind. Graciously he agreed to play on it. It's classic Peter White. The form is a traditional AABA form. He comes in the second round with his solo, then a counter melody to the sax at the key change.” S7VEN LARGE closes on the perfect note. It's as if you have been at the dance all night and they call `last dance' and you reluctantly take to the floor for the final wistful number and kiss goodbye. “Ten 2 Two” is a bluesy old school number in 12 / 8 that is as good as it gets. You can almost hear Brother Ray, Honey Dripper, Ruth Brown or Etta James crooning on top. Euge testifies on this number and the results are memorable. “It got the name `Ten 2 Two' because that was my most creative time to work on this project. 10 at night to at least 2 AM,” confesses Euge. “Jeff Golub takes a burning blues guitar solo. Gregg Karukas did the orchestrating and Lee Thornberg plays the trumpets and trombones in an old Sam Cooke kind of horn arrangement. But in general, this is the cut where all the guys show off their chops.”
Over the past decade, the contemporary jazz landscape like that of many industries has changed dramatically. But that has not slowed down Euge Groove. Touring consistently at festivals, in clubs, and on cruises, Euge has managed to stay ever present. “I think I got in just in time,” he says. “I was one of the last guys that came out right before the decline of the radio genre smooth jazz. The real fans never left, though, and the music is very much alive. The fans are passionate and they show their passion. To be honest, the challenges just make me work harder.” Over the years, Euge has also enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Rock `N' Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner. “Tina is first class, and it was quite the education to be on a first class tour with her. There is so much professionalism behind the scenes that really taught me lot. Everything from how to put a live show together, to how to inspire people was covered in her “teachings”. Truly a priceless education, and one that gives me a leg up in many situations,” says Euge. “I think there was a certain flow to my BORN TO GROOVE disc that I wanted to try and emulate this time. It was a tempo / feel thing. All the tracks this time were cut with live players. No programmed drums. But at the same time, I wanted the drums to have a modern impact, which is tricky. Trevor Lawrence is brilliant at that. I added some claps and samples to some of his back beats to give it that modern thing.” (eugegroove. com)