Groove Corporation
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Groove Corporation


Band Blues Funk


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"View Magazine"

April 2, 2009

By Ric Taylor
Groove Corporation's
Record Prophets

Groove Corporation was founded five years ago but most of its members offer decades of experience.

Featuring Kim Campagnaro (vocals/congas), Steve Hilbert (bass), Alex MacDougall (guitar), Lily Sazz (keyboards), Frank Vignanello (drums), Rob Gellner (trumpet), and Cole G. Benjamin and Pete McFarland (saxophones), Groove Corporation’s background in R&B, blues, rock, roots, reggae and country in bands like Crowbar, Kaya and The Trailblazers all come through but with a focus on the funky groove. Their business is making people dance now and as the title of their debut CD suggests, they’re business is about Record Prophets.

It’s about 70s funk music, like Average White Band, Tower of Power, or Sly And The Family Stone and even if you’re too young to know those names, you can watch in awe of the musicianship as some might do or simply follow the crowd and dance to the music.

Recorded in an historic converted church — bassist Hilbert’s living room - by one time Trailblazer’s bassist Ian Nielsen, Record Prophets is punchy and powerful — capturing the raw power of the playing. While mostly covers of standards there are some surprises like their version of Detroit Rock City – but it’s the three originals that showcase the future of the band.
“We decided to simply perform the songs live off the floor, and pick the best stuff,” recalls Sazz. “I think we kept the raw feel of the band intact.

“It’s a delicate balance between pleasing the dancers who want familiar tunes, with the informed listeners who are expecting to be challenged a little with new music, or unusual choices,” she adds on the song choice. “We like to create our own original versions of the covers but the originals give us a chance to spread our wings and introduce new ideas of our own.”

With another CD already in the works set to focus on even more original songs, Groove Corporation are set to take things to the next level with more gigs and more recordings – but the industry is not driving this corporation. It’s the love of the music and what they share on stage that keeps the band members and their fans coming back.

“Our fans come in many sizes, colours, and ages,” smiles Sazz. “There’s renewed interest in some of the 70s music we play, and I’ve seen aspiring younger musicians studying us up close, especially Steve and Alex. We seem to attract people who are young at heart and love to dance, and the musically aware and informed recognize that the opportunity to see a band with horns and percussion, pulling off a challenging repertoire, isn’t something that’s available on every corner.

“But we seem to have figured out what is important in life,” she adds. “Just organizing a rehearsal can be a major challenge but this is absolutely a labour of love. We have a two-time cancer survivor, a heart attack survivor, and a couple of band members with spouses who have health problems, and sometimes these life experiences have a way of helping to shine the light on what’s important. The camaraderie and support you get when you are in a band of people that care about each other, and all work for the group effort and not their individual self-interests, is something that doesn’t always come along, and can be fleeting. But I’ve heard the guys say things like, ‘I’ll be in this band until I retire - if I ever retire.’”

Groove Corporation play The Corktown this Saturday April 4 at 10:00pm. The cover is $10, and the CD $15.
Link to this story:
- Ric Taylor

"MapleBlues Magazine"

April 2009
John's Blues Picks
Toronto Blues Society MapleBlues Magazine

Groove Corporation Record Prophets Groove Corporation
Board member & webmistress Lily Sazz, the former Music Director of the Women’s Blues Revue Band and still its keyboard player, has for several years now been spending her free time with this eight-piece, horn-led funk/R&B band. Its members are mostly from southwestern Ontario and they get together in Hamilton to rehearse and record. Her fellow front line members, veterans all, are Kim Campagnaro, lead vocals & percussion and Alex MacDougall, guitar. Steve Hilbert on bass and Frank Vignanello on drums make up the rhythm section, and Cole G. Benjamin, Peter McFarland, and Rob Gellner are the horn section. They have some strong originals, with “Blind Man With A Cigarette” being the best of them. “Diggin’ Vinyl” and “Chasin’ Shadows” are almost as good and they hold up well in the company of the funk classics that make up the bulk of the program. Kool & The Gang’s hit “Jungle Boogie”, Teddy Pendergrass’s “Get Up Get Down Get Funky Get Loose”, Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank You Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Again” to mention just three of them. Robert Cray’s “Nothin’ But A Woman” isn’t quite as funky a performance but at this tempo, it’ll keep the dancers moving too. Colin James’ “Surely (I Love You)” is a Little Big Band song and seems a little out of place, fine version though it is. A couple of slow originals might make for a more balanced set list but if you want dancing, this’ll work. The performances and the recording are masterful, MacDougall’s experience at production really shows here. The horn arrangements deserve special mention. In Hamilton they gather at the Corktown Tavern, 175 Young Street and the CD release party is there on April 4th. The band’s web site is
- Toronto Blues Society


Video: "Blind Man with a Cigarette"

Record Prophets, 2009
Available via CD Baby, iTunes, etc.
Info and access to sample tracks at



Groove Corporation is quickly emerging as *the* horn band in Ontario to check out. Fellow musicians, critics, and fans alike are returning again and again just to find out what they're up to next. The material is always changing and growing, and the excellent horn section, congas, outstanding vocals and hot rhythm section make for a fantastic showcase of material by the likes of Tower of Power, Average White Band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and so on. Their original material fits in perfectly, and their video for "Blind Man with a Cigarette" is beautifully filmed in natural light, providing wonderful support for this song.

Groove Corporation has won a London Music Award for Best R'n'B Blues, plus several nominations for other awards, including 2 Hamilton Music Awards in 2009.

Some Recent Quotes:
"...I can't tell you how terrific you were. Groove Corporation made the night! The music, the enthusiasm - it was infectious. When I looked around at one point and saw that EVERYONE was on the floor dancing, I was thrilled. What a night! I can't tell you how many people came up to me to say that they thought the band was fantastic. You made a lot of new fans on Saturday. I also received many emails thanking us for a great party. A lot of that thanks go to you guys. Amazing..." - Paul Benedetti

"This big brassy band is kind of a 905 version of Tower of Power...Groove Corporation plays everything from James Brown to Steely Dan, and shakes the foundations of any place they're at. Perfect for dancing." - Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator

"Groove Corporation are a powerhouse that easily impress those with their eyes set on the dance floor." - Ric Taylor, VIEW Magazine

"Hey can I thank you enough!!! What a great job you and the band did, this was my favourite year for entertainment. The crowd just loved it. We raised over $6,000." - Catherine Bragdon, 4th Annual Music for Life Benefit

Groove Corporation is (alphabetically):

Cole G. Benjamin (London): Cole plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax (he's very saxy!), and we all must concede, that he is the best dressed member of Groovecorp and possibly even the coolest. Although he focuses on saxophones and some vocals with Groove Corporation, he's also been seen performing on keys with Helix and on saxes with Tim "E" and the Yes Men.

Kim Campagnaro (Burlington): Kim is the lead vocalist for Groove Corporation, as well as contributing immensely to the groove itself with his congas and percussion work. He's played with a number of different groups in the area, including a couple of years with The Trailblazers (back when he played a mean bass).

Rob Gellner (Guelph): Rob has played in a number of big bands and small combos, writes and arranges for them all, and is currently studying arranging with private lessons from the legendary Grammy award winning Rob McConnell. Rob also holds a degree in composition from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is our newest Groovecorp member, and we welcome him!

Steve Hilbert (Hamilton): Steve was recruited by our drummer, Frank, as together they also double as the rhythm section for successful Reggae group Kaya. He's played with the legendary Florence Henderson and celebrity Wayne Brady. Steve's a monster on bass, a super great guy, and we are thrilled to have him as a member of Groove Corporation.

Alex MacDougall (Hamilton): Alex MacDougall, originally from Truro, Nova Scotia, followed in his father Sandy's footsteps when he became a professional guitarist. Growing up among the cream of the crop in the Maritime music community, he laid the groundwork which would follow - a stellar career performing with groups such as Bond, Crowbar, Harrison Kennedy & The Rockin' Hurricanes, and The Trailblazers.

Pete McFarland (Waterdown): Pete has a rich history playing sax in various bands in the area, including The Hornets and occasionally the 905 Band, among others.

Lily Sazz (Dundas): Lily holds down the keyboard fort in Groove Corporation. Her musical history is long and rich. She was the musical director of the renowned Women's Blues Revue for a decade, and helped it grow from an 800-seat venue, to 1200, and is now staged at Massey Hall annually and aired on CBC Radio. She was co-founder of The Trailblazers, a respected blues/r'n'b group, and is heavily involved with the Toronto Blues Society as a member of the Musicians' Advisory Council, as well as the blues advisory committee for the Juno Awards. See

Frank Vignanello (Stoney Creek): Frank is one of the funkiest drummers we know, and is a big reason for the great sound Groove Corporation has developed. He also doubles along with Steve (our bass player) as part of the rhythm section for Reggae group Kaya. We call our rhythm section "Frankensteve". They are monsters!