• Jonathan Widran

CHUCK REDD, Groove City

After decades of brilliant ensemble work with legends like Charlie Byrd, Mel Torme, Dizzy Gillespie and Monty Alexander, vibraphonist and percussionist Chuck Redd, on his latest album, taps into his spirited sense of rhythmic intuition for a colorful, multi-cultural trip to a mythical but grounded realm he dubs Groove City.

Grooving in synch with the freewheeling harmonic energy and punchy solo power of pianist John Di Martino, bassist Nicki Parrott, drummer Lewis Nash and tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon, Redd brings his fluid, soulful and melodic approach to an expansive range of material – from a cool restrained stroll through a British Invasion classic (“Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”) and a brisk, exotic Jobim reworking (“Tide”) to bustling arrangements of chestnuts by Monk (“Evidence”) and Redd’s old pal Alexander (“Regulator”).

Testament to Redd’s own compositional acumen, the two originals – the fun and funky “A Groove For Gail,” inspired by his wife’s “smile, spirit and love for any music that makes her want to move, and the snappy straight ahead closer “Blues in the Shedd” – stack up nicely alongside the iconic pieces that dominate this compelling collection.

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