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We Want Groove: Rock Candy Funk Party

Glenn Astarita By

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This quartet repurposes the jazz-funk sounds of yesteryear into a tasteful, eclectic mix, packed with memorable compositions and aided by the crystalline recording process, enabling the music to breathe amid great detail and depth. Featuring blues-rock guitar hero Joe Bonamassa trading licks with guitarist Ron DeJesus, Rock Candy Funk Party was recorded at drummer Tal Bergman's studio, denoting the band's debut.

Rock Candy Funk Party is a production that sports a festive aura, We Want Groove are prophets of good cheer. The album emanated from Bergman and DeJesus' Groove Vol. 1 (2007, Independent) followed by live performances, ultimately leading to the We Want Groove aggregation. The musicians' collective resumes comprise gigs and performances with top rock, jazz and pop acts, spanning multiple genres, and their sensibilities and approaches to various musical platforms are impeccably transposed to disc.

The jazz-funk, soul brew is often given a bluesy touch by Bonamassa who is situated on the left channel while DeJesus is heard on the right channel, tendering a well-defined soundstage. In a loose sense the guitarists are role players, alternating between the jazz, funk and blues-rock idioms.

One of the more prominent examples of the retro vibe is "The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life," which could parallel a soundtrack from one of the old Blaxploitation flicks with inferences to the late, blues and funk guitarist Johnny "Guitar" Watson's oozing notes and trickling phraseology, tinted with echo and reverb. Otherwise, keyboardist Renato Neto kicks the proceedings off with spacey and dream-laden Fender Rhodes treatments, followed by bassist Mike Merritt distinct groove-building and Bergman's simple metronomic hi-hat pulse. With breezy and drifting synth overlays, the guitarists eventually spawn a counter-melody to inject a tuneful theme built on effective use of space via a multi-hued outline, piloting a blissful primary melody. They inject multi-colored sound-shaping mechanisms into this piece that also benefits from an insightful production, designed with a Midas touch.

One of the enthralling aspects of the album, other than the solid material and stellar audio engineering, pertains to the bands manifold rhythmic flows and perceptive use of dynamics. Of course the dance-ability factors are prevalent throughout, but it's a hybrid concoction that yields significant rewards where the old synchronizes with the new, as the group artfully contemporizes and uplifts the tried and true.

Track Listing: Octopus-e; Spaztastic; Ode to Gee; We Want Groove; The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life; Animal/Work; Dope On a Rope; Root Down (and Get It); New York Song

Personnel: Joe Bonamassa: guitars; Ron DeJesus: guitars; Mike Merritt: bass; Renato Neto: keyboards; Tal Bergman: drums, percussion.

Title: Rock Candy Funk Party | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: J&R Adventures

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