December 9, 2012. It was in 2000 that sax superstar Euge Groove released his Paul Brown produced self titled debut CD. Since then, despite a leave of absence in 2008 when he toured the world with Tina Turner, Euge has occupied what at times has appeared to be an almost permanent place at the top of the contemporary jazz charts. His appearance (as part of an nine night, four city, UK tour) at the Cinnamon Club on the southern fringes of Manchester provided the perfect opportunity to showcase his latest (and eighth) release, the excellent ‘House Of Groove’, which has already put him right back in the smooth jazz spotlight.
Despite the freezing temperatures outside, Euge raised the temperature within this intimate venue to fever pitch proportions with the kind of funky high octane performance that makes him stand out from the crowd and in the company of the always superb Mark James on guitar, keyboard player Andy Whitmore, bass-man Otto Williams and Tony Mason on drums he mixed up the best of ‘House Of Groove’ with some of his earlier classics. An early swirl of energy was heightened by the title cut from the new record that he merged with gems such as ‘Get Em Going’, ‘Livin Large’ and ‘XXL’ while when the set eased into its slow romantic phase Euge made full use of ‘Chillaxin’ from the album ‘Just Feels Right’.
Elsewhere, and in the way that Euge Groove always does best, he engaged the audience with a picture perfect interpretation of the 1975 Major Harris classic ‘Love Won’t Let Me Wait’. Taken from his 2011 project ‘S7ven Large’, it was a highpoint of the entire evening and much the same could be said of ‘From The Top’ from his 2002 ‘Play Date’ collection that Euge used to tip a hat to his early days with Tower of Power.
He went all the way back to 2000 and his debut recording for the immaculate ‘Sneak A Peak’ and although stopping off at ‘The Funky Bunch’ from ‘S7ven Large’ he quickly returned to the present with ‘Fellowship Hall’ that can be found on ‘House Of Groove’. Later, and with one eye on the rapidly approaching festive season, Euge briefly notched down the tempo for a tender rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ that he fused delightfully with ‘Merry Christmas To You’ but as he drove on toward a powerful conclusion the packed audience was left in no doubt of the global impact Euge Groove continues to have on the evolution of contemporary jazz.
Check his up coming tour schedule at www.eugegroove.com