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Groove Stu: Press

The new album of Groove Stu is entitled "Artofficial Substance". You will find sixteen sweet tracks on the album including the interlude of "Thing Called Love". It is a great follow up of the "Authentic 4.10 Sessions" album.

Groove Stu members are: keyboardist/singer Omar Sharif, vocalist Jerrod Simpson, saxophonist Brandon Moultrie and multi-instrumentalist and drummer Robert Levine. This quartet has found a great blend of music to keep the groove going. Hiphop,soul,jazz,pop,funk and rock are the elements of the album "Artofficial Substance".

The albums starts with the excellent love song "Thing Called Love". It sets the tone for the rest of the album. The lyrics are great, Omar Sharif has a lovely voice and the meldody is perfect. In "Make Believe" the rhythmically swaying harmonies on the hiphop beat will make you feel so good. The perfect R&B song on the album is "Perfect Time" with vocalist Jerrod Simpson. It is lovely to dream away on the tracks "Where I Wanna Be" and "Places". If you wanna get down on it you have to listen to "Get Right". A brilliant track a bit in the style of Earth Wind and Fire is "Celebration". It gets funky on it. But you can really hype the funk in "Come & Go With Me".(TA)

Stand Out Tracks: Thing Called Love, Make Believe, Perfect Time, Where I Wanna Be, Places, How U Want This, For U, Celebration, Get Right, Come & Go With Me

- Save Our Soul (Aug 12, 2012)

Groove Stu can now be seen as one of the veterans of the soul scene. The quartet band has been together since 1999, when neo-soul was at its zenith, and they have seen their share of music artists come and go over that time. Longevity has a special place for a band, and with their latest album release, Artofficial Substance, the members of Groove Stu appears to be just hitting their stride.

The band, consisting of vocalist/keyboardist Omar Sharif, drummer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Levine, vocalist Jerrod Simpson and saxophonist Brandon Moultrie, sought to chart a new frontier with the album. But while Artofficial Substance seeks to move music forward, it mainly pays a visit to the past. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The first two tracks, “Thing Called Love” and “Take a Chance,” give you some insight into what Groove Stu is known for: experimental, jazzy soul that stretches from mellow to lively mid-tempo in a live instrumentation package. But the band switches things up on “Make Believe,”swinging to a mid-1990’s hip-hop/R&B flavor and delivering whatcould easily be the standout first single for radio. The album continues to set adrift on memory bliss of 90’s hip-hop influenced R&B for six tracks, giving a mixture of slow and mid-tempo tunes. It isn’t until “Thing Called Love Interlude” that you hear what Groove Stu cut its teeth on: a very organized jam session of jazzy soul sounds.

After the interlude, Groove Stu digs deeper, going back to its 1980’s R&B roots with some tunes that bring back memories of some of the top producers in during that period. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis’s influence can clearly be heard on “For You.” The piece de resistance, however, is the grooving and syncopated “Celebration.” A frequent criticism of today’s soul and R&B is that it lacks syncopation; what some call boogie. With “Celebration” however, Groove Stu catches lightning in a bottle and unfurls a funky tune. Never a band to be boxed in, Groove Stu gives some house and a funky track on the last two songs to end Artofficial Substance on a grooving note.

The problems that bands like Groove Stu face aren’t theirs but instead relate to the music scene around them over the past decade. Whereas Mint Condition garnered a loyal fan base in the mid-90s – a fan base that has remained with them even as radio play became tougher, Groove Stu never had that luxury. As popular radio has changed, bands like Groove Stu have been left to get in where they fit in. But as music fans continue to find new ways to hear music via the internet and mobile, one hopes that there will be opportunities for them to discover the quality music of a talented band like Groove Stu. Recommended.

By Gabriel Rich