“I never really know what song is going to come next…thankfully it just comes to me,” confides chart-topping saxophonist, composer and producer Euge Groove, who has scored close to a dozen #1 hits on the Contemporary Jazz Charts. A favorite on radio and the international touring circuit, Euge Groove has garnered a devout following with hisirresistible mix of danceable grooves, mind-bending hooks, R&B infused melodies and inspired solos. Having collaborated with everyone from Tina Turner Elton John and Bonnie Raitt to Tower of Power and Aaron Neville, Euge Groove is never short on inspiration. On November 17, 2017, Shanachie Entertainment will release Euge Groove’s anticipated eleventh solo recording, Groove On, an exhilarating collection of originals. Euge’s latest drives home the multi-instrumentalist’s ability to mastermind the perfect mood-drenched set filled with top drawer performances featuring first rate musicians including special guests – guitar wizard Peter White and soul-jazz diva/label mate Lindsey Webster. “I hope my fans hear growth. That is most important to me,” shares Euge Groove. “I think if I stop growing as a writer, player, or producer, it’s time to quit. I put every drop of heart and soul into each album.”
Groove On opens with the enticing, jubilant and free-flowing “Sonnet XI” showcasing Euge Groove’s pristine and soaring soprano saxophone lines. Euge also mixes it up on the Hammond B3 (which he does on several tracks). “I actually started playing B3 back in the 90s while on tour with Joe Cocker. I love the sound of the B3. I have a great old B3 at my studio that was a gift from my dad some years ago and I love to use it when I can. I leave the heavy lifting to the experts though. Tim Heinz did a great job on numerous tracks this album.” In addition to Heinz, Euge Groove has culled together an A-list cast on Groove On featuring guitarists Peter White and Jabu Smith, vocalist Lindsey Webster, keyboardist Tracy Carter, bassist Cornelius Mims, drummers Trevor Lawrence, Jr. and Dan Needham, percussionist Lenny Castro and string programmers/arrangers Phillipe Saisse and Austin Creek.
A highlight on Groove On is the energized, pulsating and scintillating title track and album’s first single, which features Euge on flute and keyboard. “I’m always nervous until I can get that title cut down” confesses the multi-instrumentalist. “It has to be funky and unique for me, but not going too far as to people saying WTH? Once ‘Groove On’ was written I was like “Yes, I can do this!” Euge also features a high-octane reprise of the single at the end of recording.
The serene and blues-tinged “Free Time” brims with delight as Euge’s effervescent soprano leads the way, while the melancholy and pensive “The Healing,” is a gorgeous ballad that showcases Euge’s stirring tenor alongside the percussive and string magic of Lenny Castro and Phillipe Saisse. Euge explains that the origins of his compositions are fueled by real life experiences. “‘The Healing’ is a song that came from something I experienced recently. I suffer from anxiety from time to time, and it really reared its ugly head earlier this year. I just miss home so much sometimes on the road that things can get very dark. Mental health is no joke. I am very blessed to have some great professionals to help me make sense of it all and get through those periods. “The Healing” was all about that for me.” Euge’s beautiful ballad will likely bring peace and healing to many who are blessed to hear his heartfelt offering.
Groove On also features the euphoric and swooning “Round And Round.” Euge’s signature layering of parts
sculpt a magnificent sound collage. The rapturous “Euge One – Oh- One” underscores Euge’s penchant for writing sublime melodies and highlights the nylon string guitar of Peter White. “Peter is just my buddy of buddies and I have to have him guest somewhere!” shares Euge who also drops the news that his next project will be a duo album with White. Eugebrings the house down with the down home bluesy and soul-drenched number “Last Call.” Euge is no doubt testifying as his gorgeous tenor lines and interplay with guitarist Jabu Smith almost stop you in your tracks. “Saturday Afternoon” makes you want to jump to your feet with its cool and swingin’ ‘steppers vibe’ while the tender ballad “Always Love You” offers the album’s lone vocal. “Lindsey Webster and I met on New Year’s Eve in Germany last year,” states Euge Groove. “She has such a great voice and writing style and I kept that in my mind for this project. Lindsey wrote killer lyrics and it all came together quite smoothly.”
Euge Groove’s musical sensibilities are hard-won. Born Steven Eugene Grove in Hagerstown, Maryland, he grew up in a musical home. His mother played piano and taught the church choir and Euge began his musical pursuits at the age of seven, beginning with piano and adding saxophone at nine. Two saxophonists had a profound effect on his approach to playing. “One was French classical player Marcel Mule, who really defied what the sax was supposed to sound like for me and the other was David Sanborn, who took that sound and brought it into the mainstream world,” Euge reminisces. Through the years, Euge’s love of Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Blues have all come together to inform his personalized sound. He explains, “I’ve listened to everyone from Grover (Washington, Jr.) and Sanborn to (Charlie) Parker and Coltrane, as well as (Michael) Brecker, (Stan) Getz, King Curtis, Jr. Walker, Richard Elliot and Kirk Whalum. The more mature we become the more those influences fuse into something new. A graduate of Miami’s School Of Music, Euge launched his professional career in Miami in the mid-80s, playing in salsa bands, Top 40 club bands and doing the occasional high-profile session date like Expose’s “Seasons Change,” a #1 Billboard AC hit. In 1987 he moved to L.A., wrote a track for Richard Elliot’s The Power of Suggestion and Elliot recommended Euge to take over his spot in Tower of Power. Euge toured with TOP for four years, including a year backing Huey Lewis & The News. He went on to record, tour or perform with the likes of Joe Cocker, The Eurythmics, The Gap Band, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville and Richard Marx (that’s Euge’s horn on “Keep Coming Back,” a #1 AC hit duet he recorded with Luther Vandross). In 1999, Euge started recording his own material, dubbing himself Euge Groove, and posting his music on the now-defunct MP3.com website; downloading started almost immediately and Euge was soon topping the MP3.com Jazz chart. He signed soon thereafter with Warner Bros. “Vinyl,” his first single from his eponymous Warner Bros. debut, set a record by spending 27 weeks on the R&R charts, eventually ranking #24 for the year. In 2004, Euge Grooves’ Narada debut, Livin’ Large, spent 68 weeks on the Billboard charts. The title track was the #5 most played song for 2004 on the R&R singles chart. Just Feels Right followed in 2005 and its first single was #1 for two months. There followed in the next decade a string of hit singles and best-selling albums; his hit “Religify” was ‘song of the year’ in 2007, and his albums S7ven Large and House Of Groove each spawned #1 hits. Got 2 Be Groovin’ came in 2014 and 2016 saw the release of Still Euge, which featured the hit title track as well as memorable vocal appearances from Oleta Adams and Rahsaan Patterson.
Euge Groove further asserts himself as a vital force in the continuum of Contemporary Jazz and promises he has no intentions other than to Groove On! “I’ve really not known anything else. It’s been such an amazing run for the last 30 plus years. From the amazing people I’ve toured in support of to being able to do my own thing, sometimes I’ll reflect and just say “wow!” The places I’ve been and the people I’ve met..it’s like a real life fairy tale at times.”