Searching through MP3.com is a bit like digging through a warehouse of old LPs, with the proviso that any package may be opened and heard before buying. You have to swim through a lot of flotsam and jetsam before locating a real find. In the case of The Groove Diggers , the expended effort was worth it.
The band is led by Jim Hall (alto sax) and L.P. Sims (guitar), nephew of the one-and-only Zoot Sims. With Lew Langworthy (drums) and Felipe Godinez (bass) they've compiled worthy covers of jazz favorites. "Four Brothers" is a fitting ode to Sims' uncle who, along with Stan Getz, Serge Chaloff, and Herbie Steward, were known as such in Woody Herman's Second Herd. "Brothers" is a good barometer of the workmanship The Groove Diggers put into each piece; light, airy, swinging, always interesting, never self-absorbed. Sims' guitar is steady and driving, the drums always right there, Godinez's electric bass filling in the cracks. It's what traditional jazz means: honest, fun, slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am.
Recent additions to the Groove Digger's site include "Wouldn't You Like to Know" and "Honeysuckle Rose" featuring Sims and Hall in duet. Everything's solid and worth a listen. The only piece I found tepid was "Night in Tunisia," which never catches fire.
"Somerset" is the true gem. It's a piece I go back to again and again. Hall's sax work is superb, boisterous but moody and introspective. Elsewhere he comes across as a swingmeister. Here he strikes a more thoughtful poise; Paul Desmond is an easy comparison. The arrangement is economical and precise yet finds time for Hall to explore, and even room for a tasty bass solo. I still find it as fresh as the first listen.
Check this station to hear and download all reviewed songs. CDs may be ordered from the Groove Digger's MP3.com site . Registration with MP3.com is required.
Track Listing: "Somerset", "Four Brother", "Emily", "Jitterbug Waltz", "Nirvana", "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise", "Night in Tunisia", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Wouldn't You Like to Know"
Personnel: L.P. Sims (guitar), Jim Hall (alto sax), Lew Langworthy (drums), Felipe Godinez (bass)
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.