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MUSICAL NOTES

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Musical NotesBy Esther Callens

Nothing but the absolute best can be heard in It’s All About The Groove, a wonderful fusion of jazz originals and standards. Highlighting the perfect sax and guitar collection by Dave Askren and Jeff Benedict, it is bound to put some pep in your step. They know how to jam!
Ramon Banda (drums) and John Belzaguy (bass) joins the dynamic duo of Askren (guitar) and Benedict (alto sax) on this CD. Together this quartet belts out some amazing beats.  The 10 tunes are ideally a perfect match allowing the quartet to move effortlessly between each.
The Nat King Cole classic, “Nature Boy” opens the set. It presents over eight minutes of smooth listening music with the sax and guitar holding their own while the drum backdrop keeps it steady. “Holmes”, the second out, is a funky beat akin to New Orleans’ “Second Line.” Absolutely fun and enjoyable – strictly for the dancers.  Askren and Benedict change gears with “Monk’s Mood”, the only ballad in this album.
All the same, the foursome authenticates that they are solid talents as they gingerly master this gem – very impressive.
“Speak Low is the ultimate in swing melodies with a fast tempo that give Benedict a workout. With “McCannism”, Dave Askren pays homage to the great Les McCann with this original piece. It is nothing but soul! It’s All About The Groove is a fantastic mix by some cool cats. As previously stated, “They really know how to jam!”
Dave Askren and Jeff Benedict both started playing professionally while teenagers. Between the two, they have worked with Latoya Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Marilyn McCoo and countless others.  Their latest is a classic not to be missed.
Track listings: Nature Boy; Holmes; Old Folks; Monk’s Mood; Like Friends; Speak Low; McCannism; You Stepped Out of A Dream; While We’re Young; The Weather Is Here, Wish you Were Beautiful.

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