(Young Tree Records)
For years now, Groundation has been one of my favorite reggae bands. Since forming in 1998, they've released 6 outstanding albums, always blending some jazz into their hard-core roots sound.
With ROCKAMOVYA, they've taken it a step further.
This release takes three members of Groundation (Ryan Newman on bass, Marcus Urani
on organ, keys and piano and Harrison Stafford on rhythm guitar and lead vocals) and brings in world-renowned
drummer Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace (best remembered for his role in the cult classic "Rockers") along with
Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist Will Bernard. The results are outstanding and cross all borders.
This debut release contains 10 tracks and clocks in at just over one hour. The production and arrangement by Urani and Stafford is fantastic and the
mixing and mastering by Jim Fox at LION and FOX studio is impeccable. This is just a crucial release.
It kicks off with "Take The Night" - with its jazzy intro and just a few moments of Stafford's passionate vocals - and then it just goes into a reggae/jazz fusion with each musician blending perfectly
to create their unique and powerful sound.
It continues like this throughout. Stafford's voice is truly one of the coolest in any genre. Bernard's guitar playing is out of this world. Newman lays down (with "Horsemouth") a rock-solid foundation which the other musicians
just play from. The jazz backround of the Groundation members is obvious and this quintet meshes perfectly throughout. The cd is basically jazz music inside crucial roots reggae rhythms. Words can barely do it justice.
These are complex songs and these guys are superbly talented at their craft. Track 4, "Warrior Sound," is a relentless tune and they even jam over a nyabhingi rhythm in
"Battling Within" (they also throw in a little dancehall vibe at the end of "Coolin I").
In the liner notes, it said that these five musicians came together during Groundation's Bob Marley celebration tour in February of 2006.
Thank Jah they did as their meeting resulted in one of the finest cds you'll ever hear. This is truly an oustanding release. Roots reggae meets jazz. This is uncompromising, crucial music. Check it out.
To check out ROCKAMOVYA's webpage
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