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Jim Cifelli: Groove Station

Dan McClenaghan By

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The funk/groove sound: it seems like you shouldn't have to say too much about it. It's tight, in the pocket; it's good time music, not falling into the "cerebral listening" category; done well, it's a hell of a lot of fun...

It's done exceptionally well on Groove Station , where trumpeter Jim Cifelli tries on a groove suit for his latest release. And it proves itself a sleek fit for him.

The leader's main claim to fame is his swinging "little big band," the New York Nonet, with three fine CDs released to date, the latest being 2002's Tunnel Vision. But on Groove Station Cifelli has put together another fine band, a sextet featuring keys/guitar/bass/drums with Cifelli's trumpet and Dan Cipriano's saxophones out front. The focus is on the funk.

The focus is also on a tight group sound and a crisp dynamic. The solos stay short and tasty and always in the pocket. Cifelli's smooth shift of gears from a mainstream sound to groove/funk may come as a surprise to fans of his Nonet discs. The title tune opens the set with a cooking power trio groove, a whisper of organ before the horns blow in, the group sounding like it could be backing Wilson Pickett or Sam and Dave. "Chaotica" has a more modern feel, with Cifelli using the mute alongside guest Joel Frahm on soprano sax, with a sound that would fit right in with a Miles Davis/Marcus Miller arrangement. "Long Time Comin'" wails in on a bluesy, Albert King-ish guitar by Dave Phelps, followed by more of Cifelli's mute work; and "Sertao" slips some smooth Brazilian flavor into the mix.

Enough said about a sound you shouldn't have to say much about... Cifelli and company get into the groove with the best of them.

Visit Jim Cifelli on the web.

Track Listing: Groove Station, You Better Believe It, Time Out, Chaotica, Young Dan, Sertao, Long time Comin', Old School

Personnel: Jim Cifelli--trumpet, flugelhorn; Dan Cipriano--alto and tenor saxophones; Joel Frahm--sprano saxophone on "Chaotica"; Dave Phelps--guitar; Will Boulware--keyboards; Mike Leslie--bass; Ray Marcica--drums

Title: Groove Station | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Short Notice Music


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