Saturday, August 29, 2020

Dancing in the Sky


The Groove Project 

Volume 1: Flights of Fantasy

Prepare for take-off to destination GROOVE -- the latest from the global group The Groove Project, with guitarist and producer Arun Shenoy landing the newest smooth jazz music video “Beyond the Atmosphere” from the new album Volume 1: Flights of Fantasy.  The music is wheeling and soaring, an  airworthy cruise as a concept album exploring man’s fascination with flight. 

The Groove Project was formed in Los Angeles, California in 2016 as a 14-piece group by  Shenoy, who earned a Contemporary Instrumental GRAMMY® Award nomination for his debut album, Rumbadoodle. Soon after, the original lineup released A STAGEY BANK AFFAIR in the same year. The record was chosen as a top Album of the Year by Jazziz Magazine’s Critics Pick and dubbed “an explosive, exotic, jazz-funk-rock-barn burner” by noted American journalist and reviewer, Jonathan Widran. 

The lineup for the new album: Volume 1: Flights of Fantasy is fronted by Shenoy. The 3 principals along with saxophonist Marcus Mitchell and keyboardist David Joubert are collectively credited with songwriting. As part of their international lineup, the rhythm section is locked down by Glenn Welman from UK on the drums and Hector Ruano from Venezuela on bass. Guitarist Samituru from Norway brings his maverick guitar work to the music.  The vocalization by Park adds a unique signature sound to the high energy sound of the group’s music. Park also serves as the mix engineer for the group, while Shell was a primary songwriter for this album. Special guest Vahagn Stepanyan appears on two tracks playing piano.

Overall energetic and upbeat, a "flight of fancy" is defined in dictionaries as an imaginative but unrealistic idea. This music realistically brings the listener high into the air over the amazing landscapes of the earth, lusty and brilliant, richly melodious and memorable, full of passion and life. I am always happy to chill out on occasion and listen to this longtime musical love, smooth jazz that will consistently engage our grooving spirits while inspiring us to chill and reduce the stress in our lives.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth to ride the highway that is above the clouds, to know how the clouds feel. I highly recommend Volume 1: Flights of Fantasy.  Official artist website: 

1. Home In the Sky 4:25
2. Beyond the Atmosphere 4:24
3. Ocean of Air 4:31
4. Gravity (feat. Vahagn Stepanyan)  (6:49)
5. Shadows  (3:31)
6. To Be a Bird  (4:18)
7. Never Touch the Ground  (5:03)
8. Leap of Faith  (3:15)
9. Pilot  (4:19)
10. First Flight  (4:19)
11. Bird on a Wire (Song for Mo)  (4:59)
12. Dreams (feat. Vahagn Stepanyan)  (4:46)
13. Imagine (9:50)

Spotify album link:
Official artist website:

#ArunShenoy #TheGrooveProject #SmoothJazz #MatthewShell #LonniePark #MarcusMitchell #DavidJoubert #GlennWelman #HectorRuano #Samituru #VahagnStepanyan

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Music Review

 Ride into History -- HERITAGE by Masa Takumi

Travel fans whose wings have been clipped will find a fanciful escape in the new music by Masa Takumi.  The new album HERITAGE balances a journey into the past with modern beats and melodies; it is said to be reminiscent of the gorgeous work of June Kuramoto in the legendary Asian-influenced band Hiroshima.  The expansive and exotic works of Keiko Matsui also come to mind upon hearing Takumi’s soaring, high energy piano and keyboard adventure, artfully blending intense, earthbound rhythms with transcendent flights of fancy and rich sonic detail.

On Takumi's 2016 album, his solo debut Stars Falling, he composed and performed all the instruments, a sparkling orchestral dreamscape. This was followed in 2017 by the album Deep Down, which won both  Akademia Music Awards and Global Music Awards.  His artistic music video for “Deep Down” achieved a nomination at the 2018 Hollywood Music In Media Awards. Takumi is also an accomplished magician and a member of the world-famous Magic Castle, an exclusive, private club in Hollywood, California. Takumi has recently found a new home with the Domo Music Group, which is the label known for the esteemed Kitaro.

"Heritage" (3:30) opens with a bouncing boogie done in a gakaku style, which soon breaks into an icy cold bridge, then takes it back to the bounce. Decorated with traditional spooky instrument sounds, and there is that modern funky beat. I dig the thematic transformation, with lots of popping around old school imperial court music mixing with the drums and the piano, you can feel his music bringing the past to life in a symphonic way. 

1 Heritage (3:30)
2 Hanamachi Girl (5:12)
3 After The Nightmare (4:50)
4 Bells In Summer (4:27)
5 Toki (3:06)
6 Bamboo Forest (4:15)
7 Sakura River (3:36)
8 Midwater Night's Neo Dream (3:34)

#MasaTakumi #Heritage #JapaneseMusic #DomoMusicGroup #TheBCompany #gakaku #contemporaryinstrumental #GRAMMYNominee #Japanese #magician #musician