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Ethan Mann: It's All About a Groove

Woodrow Wilkins By

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Ethan Mann: It's All About a Groove Jazz, pop, funk, blues—put them all together, and you get It's All About a Groove, by guitarist Ethan Mann. Aided by keyboardist Chip Crawford and drummer Greg Bandy, Mann presents a delightful mix of original songs and tributes.

The three musicians started very young. Mann was 14 when he and a friend were hired to play at a bar in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Crawford was 12 when he earned $5 playing on a flatbed truck outside a drive-in movie in Raleigh, North Carolina. And Bandy was 13 when he was called to substitute for a cousin at a music bar in Cleveland, Ohio.

"Foxy" is a swinging, blues tune. Crawford covers the bass line with the keyboards. Mann opens out front with a lively lead. Later, he steps back and lets Crawford take over. Throughout, Bandy stretches out on the kit.

Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life" is played with a samba vibe. Mann scores on several high-speed phrases. Bandy mixes in some fill notes, giving the impression of an additional percussionist.

The trio turns in a favorable rendition of "Betcha By Golly Wow," one of three covers of soulful hits by The Stylistics. With Mann keeping true to the original melody, Crawford sizzles during the middle solo, aided by Bandy's toms. Mann returns with a freely expressive solo before the song reverts to the theme.

After a similar take on "People Make the World Go 'Round," the trio closes out The Stylistics sequence with a fast-paced turn on "Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart." Bandy adds a vocal grind as he recites the story behind "Woman Please," another straightforward blues piece. The song is highlighted by its 3/4 shuffle beat.

Although Mann composed only two of the songs presented on It's All About a Groove, he and his sidemen don't lack for originality. The jazz/blues presentation of the covers—combined with the fact that several songs aren't typical remakes—keeps the session from seeming trite.

Track Listing: Foxy; What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life; Betcha By Golly Wow; People Make the World Go 'Round; Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart; Woman Please; Blues for Now; The Look of Love; Minor Steps; Easy Living; You and the Night and the Music.

Personnel: Ethan Mann: guitar; Chip Crawford: keyboards; Greg Bandy: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Petunia Records | Style: Blues


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