Euge Groove – Born 2 Groove

Euge Groove
Born 2 Groove
(Narada – 2007)

Born 2 Groove begins with the laid back, gently playful “A Summer Night’s Dream,” a track reminiscent of Euge’s first big instrumental hit “Romeo & Juliet” featuring touches of his trademark texturing behind his gentle soprano lead voice. The saxman hooks into a more deeply soulful approach on the bright and vibrant “Mr. Groove,” whose double entendre title says it all about both himself and the flow of the song.

The vibrant image of an Italian piazza is foremost on his mind on the wistful and haunting, gently mystical “Café del Soul” and the simmering sensual fire of “Slow Jam,” which features some of the collection’s most expressive playing and improvisations. The title track keeps that energy going with an ensemble jam featuring touches of retro-soul ambience via Smith’s wah-wah guitar clicks and Carter’s Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer piano. The title of the soaring, feel good mid-tempo tenor-driven “Religify” — which literally means to “make religious” — draws from the song’s brimming churchy soul sound.

“Geez Spot” takes that spirit even deeper and moodier with a feel good thing reminiscent of his hit “Chillaxin’,” Peterson’s bubbly Hammond B-3 and Euge’s seductive tenor melody. The slow burning, neo-soul flavored vocal track “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” — a hit for legendary soul singer Donny Hathaway in 1973 — is a powerful showcase for renowned soul singer Ali 0llie Woodson, who was lead singer for The Temptations during their 80’s and 90’s comeback.

Euge closes the set playing harmony lines behind R&B legend Jeffrey Osborne’s penetrating lead vocals on “Baby What I Wouldn’t Do.” This song is a collaboration not only in performance, but was co-written by Euge and Osborne as well; Euge plays every instrument on the track.