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Groove Approved by Rhythm & Groove Club

Please permit me to quote briefly from Jeff Cook’s liner notes. "The musicians and ATTITUDE of the music of New Orleans created a whole new way to perceive how music could be played. From Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Professor Longhair, to the master Allen Toussaint and a host of others, came music that spoke in a brand new dialect to the rest of the world and we ALL LISTENED."

Vocalist Jeff Cook digs deeply into the repertoire of Allen Toussaint and this project evolved. The Rhythm & Groove Club heavily features the piano of one of the most popular Crescent City players. This writer’s introduction to Allen Toussaint was in 1982 when I was exposed to his TV film, "Piano Players Rarely Play Together." The 76-minute film featured the young Toussaint with two piano legends Henry "Professor Longhair" Byrd and Isidore "Tuts" Washington. The elder players were both captured very near the end of their colorful lives. The film is, in my opinion, a classic piece of New Orleans history.

Groove Approved features nine songs from Toussaint’s book, three of which are his own compositions. Allen Toussaint has almost 800 published titles with BMI at this time. Along with Dave Bartholomew, Toussaint was the man who gave birth to the New Orleans R&B sound in the sixties and beyond. It’s great to hear him Jeff Cook and the other New Orleans luminaries.

Jeff Cook is presently involved in the promotional end of the music business but began as a singer, songwriter and keyboard player. His songs have been recorded by bands like Deep Purple, Motley Crue and the James Gang. His enthusiastic approach to the New Orleans project shows up in his fine vocals on this recording. We especially liked "Don’t Set Me Back." "Hello Mama," Roscoe Gordon’s "Just a Little Bit" and Mose Allison’s "Days Like This."

While there are no instrumental tracks, you’ll hear plenty of Allen Toussaint’s ample talents throughout the CD. There are a few brief solo passages by both guitarists and tenor man Amadee Castenell. Regrettably, trumpeter Nicholas Payton doesn’t solo and appears only in the section. Blues fans can check out the sounds at CD Baby.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rhythm & Groove Club
  • CD Title: Groove Approved
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Asend Records
  • Tracks: Hello Mama, Just a Little Bit, Greatest Love, Don’t Set Me Back, Down Home Girl, Have You Ever Had The Blues, Bad Reputation, Days Like This, Born Under a Bad Sign
  • Musicians: Jeff Cook (vocals), Allen Toussaint (piano), Reggie Toussaint (percussion), Amadee Castenell (tenor sax), Steve Goudreau (guitar), Tinsley Ellis (guitar), David Berard (bass), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Herman LeBeau Jr. (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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