Stormy Mondays | Instrumental Grooves Of 2003 Mix

Back in the spring of 2003 I went to a Garaj Mahal show in downtown NYC just as the war in Iraq was starting, and the performance seemed especially dark and intense to me. The night ended with Fareed Haque sitting on the floor with his guistar — that wild looking guitar with sitar resonating strings — and whipping up a maelstrom of a "Gulam Sabri" dedicated to all the innocent lives being lost. In discussing the night with friends, I said that everything I had been listening to lately seemed edgy, much less groovy and someone pointed out that art responds to the times. And I do think that '03 marked the end of a golden age of instrumental groove music, where the funk was everywhere all the time and instrumental bands regularly had headlining sets at festivals.

Thankfully the last two years or so have seen a resurgence in the popularity of such music, but this week as a final look at what was happening a decade ago, we’re going to give a listen to the state of the groove in 2003. We open with a cool Soundcheck Jam from Sam Kininger (featuring the fantastic Nikki Glaspie on drums), followed by a big, stomping "Fat City Strut" from Topaz. Robert Walter gives a slick version of one of his signature tunes, "Aqua Fresh," and the center piece is Soulive crushing "Jesus Children" as part of their Stretch residency in New York, which found them exploring different musical themes at each show. This one is from jazz night and features the amazing Kenny Garret on alto - a must hear performance. To finish things out, we have Marco and Joe doing "Darts," which shows just how different their groove was from everyone else’s, something much more tonally in sync with the times. As always, enjoy!


Written By: Dan Alford

[Published on: 12/23/13]

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