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Groundation-A reggae band you can all appreciate


MAJUSCULE

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Groundation is reggae/dub band from California. Although they aren't keyboard-centric, because every instrument is a big part of their sound, therefore the keys definitely have a big place in the band. The band members come from all kinds of music, with jazz musicians, Les Claypool's ex-drummer and the man who taught one of the only reggae history classes in university.

 

I unfortunately only own one album, We Free Again. However, this is enough for me to know that this band is the real thing(as many people all over the world already know). The album is incredibly groovy with great solos from nearly everyone and great work on the organ and the Rhodes from keyboardist and founder Marcus Urani.

 

As trumpet player David Chachere explains, as jazz musicians, they all worked hard at finding their own individual sound, whereas in the groove-based reggae style, the band itself has a sound. This produces a great mix where all the musicians take great care to not step on each other while still making sure they are all heard. Chachere also points out that the jazz backround of the majority of the band makes for a different show every night, where they take a jazz approach to their songs, using the song like a head and improvising. The musicianship is incredible.

 

I highly recommend them! After all, I don't think many of you have encountered a reggae song in 5/4, have you?

 

http://www.myspace.com/groundation

http://www.groundation.com

I didn't find any real good youtube videos, but there are two good videos on the myspace.

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Reggae and Jazz??? Been done already and it really does not work. There are certain styles that don't do well together and they are two of them.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Reggae and Jazz??? Been done already and it really does not work. There are certain styles that don't do well together and they are two of them.

 

Somebody better break the news to Monty Alexander:

"The Doomer allows the player to do things beyond which are possible without the accessory."
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Sonically, that band is great. The production is great. The playing is good too. The guy's singing bugs me after a while, though-- it seems affected. He's definitely a reggae "scholar", and you can tell they've done their listening. They've got the Israel Vibrations vibe down.

 

I like that Nyabingi tune in 5/4, too. And I love the backwards delay on "Praising".

 

Where is that singer from? does he talk as funny as he sings?

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Not saying you can't do it. It just would not really go well over with an all west indian crowd that's all. Trust me I have seen it in person. Cultural music like Reggae has a very critical audience. That version of stir it up is not really jazz either. It still has a one drop feel.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Not saying you can't do it. It just would not really go well over with an all west indian crowd that's all. Trust me I have seen it in person. Cultural music like Reggae has a very critical audience. That version of stir it up is not really jazz either. It still has a one drop feel.

 

I agree with you. Jamaican's don't want to hear that. I have also been in the painful situation of playing jazz reggae to a reggae crowd - many times, and it doesn't work. It's better left to a jazz crowd.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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The Skatalites mix it quite well, and they've done aright for I don't know, 40 years now.

 

I played in Jazz/Reggae mix bands that toured all over US and Europe, did pretty well considering every house was full and rocking.

 

Not sure about this artist though, just because you do it doesnt mean you do it well.

 

And I have no doubt modern Jamaicans aren't interested, but their taste in Reggae is not exactly very good IMO.

 

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No their tastes have changed but even with Reggae you have to watch what you play because they will let you know right upfront if it does not sound good. I know this for experience and opening or backing artists like Lady Saw or Michael Rose from Black Urhu.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Their tastes have changed for the worse, same with Americans, can't really blame people for wanting to move on though, that's life.

 

Doesn't mean an artist can't mix Reggae and jazz well though, just because they don't like it, Jamaicans are far from the authority on Reggae at this point and like I said, the style was originated by the Skatalites, one of the greatest Reggae bands of all time.

 

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Yeah they are not either but people that like Garnett Silk, Barrington Levy, and Marcia Griffiths will not neccesarily go for a jazz mixed with Reggae.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Probably not, especially if the artist can't play Reggae to begin with, which pound for pound is one of the most difficult styles of music to play because of the nuances that are easily missed.

 

But even if an artist doesnt get it right and even if I don't like it I support the cause, it's a style that has never caught on in the US and it would be nice to see it happen. And maybe I can enjoy some fruits for all these nights I'm sitting in my studio playing along with Ken Boothe records in the shape of more gigs! although I can't complain, it's been a busy summer.

 

 

 

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Here is a video of a guy a play with from a couple months ago. It was a medley of some Marley tunes we did for the audience:

 

http://video.artvoice.com/artvoicetv.php?permalink=0000000661

 

It came out ok. We did not have the girl singer with us that day.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Yeah they are not either but people that like Garnett Silk, Barrington Levy, and Marcia Griffiths will not neccesarily go for a jazz mixed with Reggae.

 

In this case, though, I wouldn't say Groundation is "Jazz mixed with Reggae". The sonic elements are pure reggae: Big bass sound, bass and drums are pure reggae, guitar chuck, organ bubble. The only jazz vocabulary is in the solos.

 

Groundation sounds more like classic reggae than the Crap that is pop reggae in Jamaica today. Whether West Indians like something or not doesn't give it credibility in my book. When I lived in Flatbush (Brooklyn) in the West Indian neighborhood, I saw two reggae concerts in Prospect Park one summer. The first was a modern pop reggae band ("lets get it on till the break of dawn, lets get it on, lets get it on..."). A huge crowd of West Indians turned out to see it. The second concert was the Abyssinians, and the crowd was 99% white.

 

As a white guy trying to play reggae outside of Jamaica, I actually find the biggest resistance comes from white reggae fans and DJ's who think they have some authority over what is authentic reggae and what is not. With few exceptions, the major bands I've opened for have been gracious and appreciative of our reggae.

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This is so true. The problem with the white dead head bands/ Reggae bands like Johns Brown Body is that they think Reggae stopped in 1981. That is a big pet peeve of mine. I could put together a CD of artists and give it to white or urban DJs and I guarantee they would not know half the artists. They dont shit about it most of the time is what I have found. As for the Brooklyn story you mentioned the same thing happened here when Toots and The Maytals came into town last month. I know his son the bass player and the crowd was all white and very few people of color. Had it been a dancehall show or even something like Third World the crowd would be different.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Many styles of music start out 'pure' and become 'diluted'. Follow the money. It happened to Jazz and R&B. Reggae is no different.

 

The younger generation of Jamaican musos incorporated technology and influences i.e. Hip-Hop which resulted in Dancehall.

 

For me, like American R&B, Regggae lived from the 60s-mid 80s i.e. up until the bands started disappearing. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Funny thing is Hip Hop is a product of the the Bronx and the large sound systems.

The sound systems merely enabled them to perform outside.

 

However, the Hip-Hop production aesthetic i.e. turntables, samplers, drum machines, etc., was used for Dancehall. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Many styles of music start out 'pure' and become 'diluted'. Follow the money. It happened to Jazz and R&B. Reggae is no different.

 

This is a statement worth discussing. I don't think there really is such a thing as a "pure" musical style. Everyone is influenced by other people's music. Even before globalization, the best and most influential musicans sought out music from other cultures and were influenced by it.

 

Early Reggae sounds more like American Soul to me than anything else.

 

Jazz was always a mishmash of styles, European, African, American, Latin.

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Many styles of music start out 'pure' and become 'diluted'. Follow the money. It happened to Jazz and R&B. Reggae is no different.

 

This is a statement worth discussing. I don't think there really is such a thing as a "pure" musical style. Everyone is influenced by other people's music. Even before globalization, the best and most influential musicans sought out music from other cultures and were influenced by it.

 

Early Reggae sounds more like American Soul to me than anything else.

 

Jazz was always a mishmash of styles, European, African, American, Latin.

 

Sure, all music has its influences. Still, a style or genre is 'pure' to the extent that it can be identified by its sound.

 

Play more than a triad or too many chords period, someone will say that sounds Jazzy.

 

When folks hear the bubble or one drop, it sounds like Reggae.

 

This thread is regarding the mixture of two distinctive genres, Reggae and Jazz. They are pure in that context.

 

IMO, Dancehall and Smooth are diluted forms of Reggae and Jazz respectively. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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This is so true. The problem with the white dead head bands/ Reggae bands like Johns Brown Body is that they think Reggae stopped in 1981. That is a big pet peeve of mine. I could put together a CD of artists and give it too white or urban DJs and I guarantee they would not know half the artists. They dont shit about it most of the time. As for the Brooklyn story you mentioned the same thing happened here when Toots and The Maytals came into town last month. I know his son the bass player and the crowd was all white and very few people of color. Had it been a dancehall show or even something like Third World the crowd would be different.

 

Steel Pulse has the same crowd. I think it bothers him. He avoids most of his Columbia stuff and reaches back to the 70s and 90s and ignores much of his 80s stuff in concert.

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Some forget that there are many islanders here and they are in touch with the their culture through radio and DJs. They know what records are getting played on the island and they know what authentic island culture is and isn't. 'In the style' of isn't the same as 'being from' the islands.

 

White blues players had the same problem for years. Still do in reality.

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Some forget that there are many islanders here and they are in touch with the their culture through radio and DJs. They know what records are getting played on the island and they know what authentic island culture is and isn't. 'In the style' of isn't the same as 'being from' the islands.

 

White blues players had the same problem for years. Still do in reality.

Good point.

 

Authenticity means everything in some styles of music.

 

Folks can learn how to sing and/or play anything.

 

Not everyone lives it. Often times, that is the only rite of passage. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Authenticity is huge in Reggae as far as I am concerned.
Yes, authenticity is important in any musical idiom, but a musician's vision can also transcend styles.

 

What Monty Alexander was doing in that YouTube was kinda cool. The reggae band was good and could have worked well on its own, but he was slipping the crowd "groovy" elements of jazz that aren't often heard anymore. Interesting - they responded as much to his ideas as the reggae groove.

 

Substitute a walking bass line for the reggae beat on everything Monty played and it would have worked, but the crowd wouldn't have 'gotten it.' Simple, but musical.

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The crowd would have not gotten it or not liked it because of the culture. It's kind of hard to explain. That band Groundation sounds very white/deadish. I know it sounds mean to say but I can tell you that they would be a hard sell to a West Indian Crowd. I know it because I have seen and experienced it. It's not anyones fault but more where the music is. We can appreciate it as musicians

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I don't get a deadhead Reggae vibe at all, they sound very Eek-A-Mouse to me, traditional stuff really.

 

It's not my style of Reggae but I think they sound pretty good and could see anyone that enjoys the Burning Spear/Bob Marley thing getting into it, even a West Indian crowd.

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