Half Notes: Chris West, "Where I Got My Groove" (2011)

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Where’d saxophonist Chris West get this groove? The undulating downtown streets of New Orleans, of course. Sassy and just plain nasty at times, “Where I Got This Groove” is like a sweat-soaked traipse across that city’s legendary Vieux Carre’. They start with drummer Justin Amaral’s slapping second-line groove, then add Neil Konouchi’s rumbling, gassy tuba, and then finally a winking trombone aside from Oscar Utterstrom. When West belatedly emerges from the bubbling gumbo of fever fonk, he’s a tangy delight — playing with a newfound honey-smoked soul. As the guest horns return for a restatement of the theme, then lockstep on the way out into a series of sand-blasting blurts of brass, you realize that all this song lacks is a tangle of Mardi Gras beads around its neck.

“Where I Got My Groove,” featuring Halfbrass, is part of the Nashville-based Chris West’s new Surprise Trilogy, Disc 1, with parts 2 and 3 to follow. Disc 1, issued in April, and other West releases can also be purchased here. West is currently playing with the Dynamites, a deep funk band that has opened for Widespread Panic, the Dave Matthews Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Galactic.

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Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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