Try It Out Tuesdays – Groove Thing

This Is No Time... from Bill Ware and Groove ThingTry It Out Tuesdays offers a free full MP3 of an artist. Today’s track is from Groove Thing, the acid jazz effort from vibraphonist Bill Ware. This track, “On the Sand,” came on my iPod while driving home today. As I wrote about last summer, This Is No Time… is a favorite of mine. Vibes and flute are two of my top five favorites instruments. Of the number of Groove Thing tracks I could pick, “On the Sand” wins because it puts another of my faves in – trombone. Where else are you gonna hear vibes, flute, trombone, guitar, and the acid jazz vibe? This track is also a regular on ContemporaryJazz.com Radio.

Click the play button to hear “On the Sand.” If you like what you hear, click the Shopping Cart icon to buy This Is No Time… from Amazon.com. It’s been out of print for a long time but you can still get a new copy for less than $7.

The Pure compilation with JEN meets CAN7Groove Thing – This Is No Time…

New Tributes to Stevie Wonder

There’s only a handful of musicians that can be called “living legends.” Stevie Wonder is undeniably one of them. There no shortage of covers or tributes to this still vital musician. Here are a couple of jazzy tributes that have been released recently.

Vibraphonist Bill Ware, whose Groove Thing CD This Is No Time… is a favorite of mine, offers Wonder Full with his enhanced trio, Vibes. Half of the ten selections were recorded live, and the other half are from a studio date. This isn’t a Stevie Wonder greatest hits covers recording. Check out what Ware chose (Amazon, iTunes).

Guitarist Vernon Neilly has gathered some friends for A Tribute to Stevie Wonder. Among them: Greg Howe, U-Nam, and Michael Paulo (where have you been, Mr. Paulo?). It should be interesting. The product description indicates that this is a “multi-genre project that has progressive, jazz fusion, smooth jazz, heavy metal, and R&B singles on it.” Hear for yourself at Vernon’s site, his MySpace page, or at Amazon.

Review: The Grand Unification Theory by Stefon Harris

The Grand Unification Theory by Stefon HarrisI’d made multiple mentions of Stefon Harris’ The Grand Unification Theory prior to its release in February. The word “ambitious” was used by myself and nearly every person referring to the project. The word is appropriate. What else do you call a young man who writes a 13-movement suite about the meaning of life for 12 musicians in his third album out as a leader?

I’ve always been a fan of concept albums as well as the vibraphone so I eagerly sought this CD out. I’m happy to report that I was not let down. The Grand Unification Theory, which takes its title from a theory in quantum physics, embraces jazz, funk, Latin, African, and Classical influences. Stefon’s vibraphone and marimba are in the forefront when you hear the CD, but when you really listen to it, it’s his composing that really strikes you. The movements that Harris has written are structured yet free enough for the musicians to swing and groove. All of the musicians that have been gathered for this release prove themselves, but drummer Terreon Gully really makes his presence known. I’ll be watching for his name in the future.

I’ve had this CD for over a month and had difficulty in writing a review. I’ve discovered that the reason for this is that I never had the opportunity to sit down and listen to the entire 75 minutes at one time, uninterrupted. I’ve heard most of it here and there, but the full effect isn’t realized until it’s listened to in the manner that it’s meant to. The reward is there if you can take the time, sit back in your chair, and follow the titles with the track sequence. Having said that, there are numerous cuts that easily can stand alone. “Prologue” is an infectious tune that you’ll remember all day. “The Velvet Couch” is funky and “March of the Angels” is also memorable.

Stefon Harris has got my attention. I’m anxious to see how he follows up this project.