Groove Collective’s perspective is best summed up by a chorus from Common’s Like Water for Chocolate: “As long as it’s funky / All right / Okay.” Formed in New York in the early ’90s—the same place and time that birthed the similarly minded Medeski Martin & Wood—the horncentric, devilishly rhythmic Collective is interested in everything from psych-jazz to club music, as evidenced by its most recent studio album, 2006’s People People Music Music.
“DFU” is an earthshaking Afrobeat piece marked by crushing percussion, Jay Rodriguez’s gruff bari sax and a joyous, swaggering trombone solo from guest Fred Wesley. “Tito,” authored by the band’s rhythm section plus Latin-percussion vet Eddie Bobe, is an infectious taste of salsa that sees the ensemble singing Tito Puente’s name as if it were a classic lyric. And “Eat No Space” drifts through a fog of bass clarinet and synthesizer, continuing the trippy, late-night conversations begun by ’70s Les McCann albums like Layers and Invitation to Openness.
This show, billed as a “20th Anniversary Alumni Jam,” will feature the Collective’s current lineup—Rodriguez, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, keyboardist Barney McAll, bassist Jonathan Maron, drummer Genji Siraisi and percussionist Chris ThebergeÑaugmented by former Groovers like trombonist Josh Roseman, vibraphonist Bill Ware and rapper Nappy G. With seven of its ten original members on hand, the show promises a look back at the calm before the late-’90s New York funk storm, when MMW and Groove Collective set the stage for groups like Soulive, Topaz, ulu and Project Logic.—Brad Farberman