Addison Groove Project | 04.18.04 | Trilogy Lounge | Boulder, CO

Addison Groove Project
Heads up, West Coast: Addison Groove Project is coming your way. Kicking off a string of shows set in intimate venues, AGP visited the Trilogy Lounge in Boulder for a taste of springtime in Colorado. They're now hitting the road for a 4/20 stop in Vegas followed by several April shows throughout California in smaller venues.

It's your choice: see these guys up close in your backyard or wait for June's Bonnaroo festival and see them alongside thousands of mud-caked friends in the Tennessee sun. A five-piece ensemble from Wellesley, Massachusetts, AGP blends 70's jazz-fusion influences (Weather Report, Earth, Wind & Fire) with a healthy dose of funk.

The Sunday night crowd at Trilogy started off laid back, drinking in the opener "But Still" with warm horns, reminiscent of Kool & the Gang's memorable "Summer Madness" era. Overall, AGP's grooves hold some nice complex structures, (forgive the wine analogy) which keep their songs fresh and intriguing. You can find a lot of moods in these moments.

AGP Horns
Brendan McGinn leads the band with guitar work that can roam boldly into space rock and with equal dexterity withdraws into setting colorful atmospheres. He delivered soulful vocals on "Don't Worry" and appropriate terse quirkiness to the Talking Heads' "Making Flippy Floppy." His musical triple threat was established when he contributed trumpet to "Riding on the Edge of the Sun."

A cover of Squeeze's bouncy, new wave "Take Me I'm Yours" seemed a little out of place amid the explorations but every good pitcher knows you have to throw a change-up once in a while. A ripping version of an early AGP song (written in their high school days), "Reverend" established an epic feel, with great horn interplay and a soaring crescendo that made for the highlight of the show. The audience loves a musical payoff and this was a great example of that satisfaction.

Addison Groove Project
The alto and tenor sax (Ben Adams and Dave Groppe, respectively) horn section delivered tight phrasing to compliment Rob Marscher's keyboards. They have the freedom to lilt into softer terrain or, as demonstrated in "Pablo's Reality," solo into fusion fits that remind one of Miles Davis' '70s bands. Drummer Andrew Keith keeps this type of exploration grounded in the funk. One of my biggest problems with older fusion is that it sometimes wanders into instrumental bogs. Keith does a good job framing solos with engaging rhythms, giving those wanderings a map home. Marscher's keyboards take the double duty of bass lines and melody. He has essentially filled in for bassist John Hall who had to take leave from the band last year to fight cancer. It's tough to see a young band faced with such adversity so early in their journey, but it's just as uplifting to see them move on undaunted.

AGP strike an attractive balance. Their jazz roots instruct thoughtful original compositions, challenging audiences who might not be expecting such creativity. Their material also harbors a spirit of funk and soul that they would do well to develop further. Interesting covers and ample live energy are sure to help their cause. Brendan described this as "the first of many trips to Boulder." Alas, the good word will spread and next time around, I'll probably be catching them in a larger venue along with several hundred good friends.

But Still...
Mome Raths
Waiting for the Polls to Close
Ben's Song
Don't Worry
Pablo's Reality > Take Me I'm Yours
Riding on the Edge of the Sun
Wolf Gang
Making Flippy Floppy

Encore: Gorgonzola

Words and Images by: Haig Assadourian
JamBase | Colorado
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[Published on: 4/20/04]

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