‘Meet Dr. No’ – Masters of Groove
Jazzateria 20306-2
Masters of Groove’ "Meet Dr. No" is a bright and
dynamic musical project. Produced by Andrew Sherman
and Preston Powell and billed under the title as
"four all-star jazz-soul-funk-groove veterans take on
music from the first Bond adventure film ‘Dr. No’
(1962,)" the album’s open and jazzy structure yields
jam-friendly results.
Throughout the record, bass player Tarus Mateen and
drummer Bernard Purdie form an absorbing rhythm
collective. Grant Green Jr. rages sprite and
imaginative ideas into his guitar playing. Reuben
Wilson’s organ is steadying, steamy, and always
philanthropic to the collective groove.
Masters of Groove Twist is a white-hot, monstrous, and
sexy opener for the record. Grant Green
Jr’s lead work is soulful and aerobic. Ruben Wilson
follows Green Jr. with an organ solo. Much of the
pleasant swing of the piece (and the record
throughout) is due to Wilson’s sauced, inspired
Green Jr. takes another peak in his solo for Dr. No
Shuffle, the record’s next number. Set to a
comfortable rhythmic bed, Green’s guitar solo is
audacious and lively as it capsizes down into an
elegant organ solo by Wilson. The sensuous enthusiasm
of Reuben Wilson’s playing brings Dr. No Shuffle back
to the original melody of the piece.
Under the Mango Tree is set to a recreational pace.
Led by Wilson’s salsa and organic swing, the number
feels like a smooth graze on a warm, summer evening.
Green Jr. follows Wilson this time with an aromatic
guitar solo. Points also to a gentle rhythm section by
Tarus Mateen and Bernard Purdie.
The album’s longest track at nine minutes and seven
seconds, Jamaican Rock is honey-sweet jam
professionals doing their thing. The playing is
beautiful, faultless in execution, with enough soul to
explode into nitroglycerin. Jamaican Rock is music for
life. It’s followed on the record by another enormous
success, Bond II.
Bond II is a slowed-down, sultry take on the theme for
dashing, celluloid, super-spy James Bond. Based on the
oil-slick guitar hook in John Barry and Monty Norman’s
original composition for the film "Dr. No" Bond II
erupts through Green’s guitar and Wilson’s organ solo.
At a length of seven minutes plus, the girth of the
jam is laid into foundation by the rhythm work of
drummer Bernard Purdie and bass player Tarus Mateen.
The calm feel and pace of the song creates spaces for
the lead players to explode into. And both Green Jr.
and Wilson take advantage of the daylight given with
superior lead work.
III Blind Mice is an amusing take on the rhythm of the
children’s tune Three Blind Mice.. If nothing
outlandish, the jam serves as a serene come down from
the tectonic power of the last few tracks.
Jump Up, which is set to a twisting island harmony,
gorges a taut line between jazz and calypso. The
album’s final jam is gorgeous and pleasant. Giving,
easy, and so danceable it burns, get the children to
Jump Up. Bass player Tarus Mateen brings the funk,
noise, flavor, and everything Kosher on the tune.
Never too bright to be annoying, Jump Up keeps the
listener juiced up for more. Alas, it’s not to be.
Fluid and organic in approach, Masters of Grove’ "Meet
Dr. No" is an example of a musical project gone
right. This delicious and jazzy record rains over with
bright guitars, awesome organs, and textured rhythms.
Half-funk, half-jam super-sonic, and a whole-lotta
swing. Masters of Groove’ "Meet Dr. No" is not a bad
way to spend an evening.