N-Groove - It's Who We Are


N-Groove is a new founded group of guitarist Roberto Tyson, drummer C.C. Givens and bassist Cheikh Ndoye. Their debut album It's Who We Are (2007) was recorded to create radio friendly groove oriented jazz music.  Their mission is to make music which is interesting, stimulating and diverse.

Heart and soul of the group is drummer C.C. Gives who defines himself as "Renaissance Man" and plays several instruments on this album. All songs on this album are originals, mostly composed by the group members with the exception of the second tune Funny How Time Flies. Additional guest musicians are Benito Gonzales (piano), Monica Ssali (vocals), Al Williams (sax), Carl McIntyre (flugelhorn), Matvei Sigalov (electric violin), Brad Booth (electric piano), Scott Hedges (guitar), Shaun Jurek (guitar), Romero Wyatt (percussion) and Eli Staples (piano).

You And Me, the starting ballade showcases what this album stands all about. The wonderful voice of Monica Ssali supported by professional instrumentalists. Outstanding instrument is Cheik Ndoye's fretless bass who gives the group its signature sound.

A second time we met Monica on the cover of the popular hit Funny How Time Flies composed by James Harris III and Terry Lewis Jackson. The song was tailored for Janet Jackson breakthrough album Control (1986) and is still an R&B classic. Carl McIntyre's contribution on Flugelhorn with a nice dose of reverb gains the appeal of celestial music.

Groove Serum brings more the nucleus of N-Groove into foreground: Instrumental mastership. Brilliant on keys Benito Gonzales with a jazzy attitude. Bring It On Let's Go is a testimony for jazz and Funk. Cheikh Ndoye's bass and C.C. Givens' wah guitar are the bringer of message.

It's Who We Are is one of the highlights of this album. A catchy melody, an infectious rhythm, fascinating arrangement and a group mesmerizing with a high level of professionalism. The song reminds me of the group Brand New Heavies. A great surprise is Matvei Sigalov on electric violin. This is the musical way Matvei should go in the future.

So Sexxy is a smooth ballade featuring doyen Al Williams on soprano sax. Al is known by his work with Stanley Clarke, Jeff Beck, John Lee, Jerry Brown and Rodney Franklin. I love his performance on Exodus Quartet's Summer Soulstice.

On When We Get There pianist Eli Staples shows his prowess. Eli garnered some accolades as jazz pianist in the Washington area. Smooth jazz fans will know about his performance with Maysa Leak. The intro and some phrases of the following Ooh We Oh Yeah confirmed my impression of an excellent talent.

What can be a better proof for the brilliance of N-Groove than the fusion-break Dfunkt. Only an independent group can make such a performance outside the path of radio-like music.

The instrumental version of It's Who We Are clarifies: We witness the birth of a great group. This album has substance and a solid potential for a splendid development.





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  • Title: It's Who We Are
    Artist: N-Groove
    Year: 2007
    Length: 0:46:36
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: N/A

    01 You And Me [5:23]
    02 Funny How Time Flies [3:55]
    03 Groove Serum [3:52]
    04 Bring It On Let's Go [3:04]
    05 It's Who We Are [5:00]
    06 So Sexxy [5:27]
    07 When We Get There [4:54]
    08 Ooh We Oh Yeah [4:21]
    09 Dfunkt [6:04]
    10 It's Who We Are (Reprise) [4:36]