Brothers Groove show off live sound
June 30th, 2002
Publication: Detroit Free Press
Original URL: http://www.freep.com/entertainment/music/disc30_20020630.htm
|With 2000's "Clamp It Down," the Brothers Groove became the city's most formidable trio, a group with the chops, brains and wit to properly pull off a salvo of jazz-inflected funk. A couple of years and lineup changes later, the band continues its reign. All the evidence you need is packed into this new, 10-track album, heavy on cover songs but showing off the BG in the band's most flattering environment: live onstage.
"Layin' in the Cut" was recorded during the last year at venues from downtown Detroit to Austin, Texas -- captured, as the liner notes spell out, on MiniDisc, CD-R and cassette tape. That makes for a vaguely erratic listen; opening cut "Eastern Market" is full and clean, for instance, while the closing "Pressure Cooker" is dynamically clouded.
Change is afoot: Journeyman drummer Todd Glass is now on board, and the addition of Erik Gustafson turns the Groove into a four-piece and inserts guitar textures into the picture. But the bottom line remains the same for this group, founded by keyboardist Chris Codish and bassist James Simonson. Musical ideas spill out and into one another, coalescing into full-on jams. The band has an innate sense for improv, turning on a dime and handling both frenetic and laid-back grooves with ease. By Brian McCollum, Free Press pop music critic
The Brothers Groove play regular gigs Mondays at Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak and Thursdays at the Music Menu in Detroit. The band will be at the Post in Mt. Clemens on Friday and the Comerica TasteFest in Detroit on Saturday.
In lesser hands, it's the kind of formulation that can lead to sprawling, directionless wankiness. But the Brothers Groove are smart enough to maintain hold of the leash and keep things tight. The lengthiest jam here is a slinky 12-minute romp through Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," recorded at the South By Southwest music festival in March with Blues Traveler's John Popper contributing hot harmonica.
Codish shines on the title cut, a gloriously greasy cover of a little-known tune by jazz organ master Lonnie Smith. Other top tracks include "Eastern Market," "Ain't That a Bitch" and a sublime cover of Clarence Wheeler's "Right On."
By Brian McCollum, Free Press pop music critic
The Brothers Groove play regular gigs Mondays at Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak and Thursdays at the Music Menu in Detroit. The band will be at the Post in Mt. Clemens on Friday and the Comerica TasteFest in Detroit on Saturday