Groove Theory
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Groove Theory

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | SELF

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | SELF
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"Transition CD Review"

Cassius Goens III. is a fine jazz drummer from Indiana who is currently based in Iowa. He is a member of the Steve Grismore Quartet, and has worked in Indiana with Mark Buselli, Brent Wallarab, Rob Dixon, Luke Gillespie, Mike Strickland, Larry McWilliams, Frank Smith and the folk rock artist Cory Hill. Goens leads his own group Groove Theory, which is featured on Transition.

The drummer’s debut CD finds him contributing all nine compositions and propelling a quintet that also features trumpeter Steve Wheeler, Nathan Bogert on alto and soprano, keyboardist Michael Conrad and bassist Karl McComas-Reichl. The music is primarily postbop jazz with the use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano and some of the grooves making it reminiscent at times of the 1970s. But rather than being a mere recreation or having it be overly derivative of the past, the music is actually fresh and creative, unpredictable in spots but ultimately logical.

To name a few highlights of this easily enjoyable modern jazz set, “Leesi’s Groove” has a well constructed trumpet solo by Wheeler and hot interplay by the two horns at its conclusion. “Diligent Hands” features a very passionate alto solo from Bogert, who mixes together aspects of John Coltrane and Grover Washington Jr. “Pieces Of A Dream,” “Crystal” and the wistful and cinematic “After The Day Is Gone” offer superior ballad writing by Goens. McComas-Reichl has a forceful and creative bass solo on “Time Off,” “Brutha-Fly offers more passionate alto and ensemble interplay along with a spirited drum solo, and Conrad’s keyboard work is a strong asset throughout the set.

Cassius Goens mostly restricts himself to inspiring the lead voices but, in addition to “Brutha-Fly,” he takes some opening drum breaks on “Transition” and really cuts loose on the closing “Remember The Time.” Transition, an excellent tour-de-force for his writing and the playing of Groove Theory, is easily recommended to fans of modern jazz.

Scott Yanow, author of ten jazz books including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
- Scott Yanow


Discography

Cassius Goens-Transition (2011)
Nathan Bogert and Groove Theory-Ever Onward (2012)

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Bio

Dedicated to original compositions, Groove Theory has placed a strong emphasis on performing original compositions written by all members of the ensemble. Each member of the band brings their own individual passion to every performance, resulting in high-energy engagements that have captivated audiences across the Midwest. Upon release of their first album entitled Transition (under the name of drummer Cassius Goens III), Groove Theory garnered high praise from listeners across the country. The members of Groove Theory have been highly successful as individual performers, and have performed with many reputable jazz artists. This young ensemble brings a soulful and virtuosic flavor to jazz music, and continues to forge new pathways for contemporary jazz performance. Groove Theory’s second album Ever Onward (featuring the compositions of saxophonist Nathan Bogert) is soon to be released, and offers an opportunity for listeners to experience another element of Groove Theory’s musical aesthetic.