The New Groove Orchestra
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The New Groove Orchestra

Band Jazz Funk

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Sep
06
The New Groove Orchestra @ Backwoods Pondfest 08

Peru, New York, USA

Peru, New York, USA

Aug
22
The New Groove Orchestra @ Friday Night Live

Rutland, Vermont, USA

Rutland, Vermont, USA

Jul
12
The New Groove Orchestra @ Solarfest

Tinmouth, Vermont, USA

Tinmouth, Vermont, USA

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And the lord said: “Let there be a groove unlike any other,” and it was so. And the lord saw that it was good...it was damn good. And lo, the people did rejoice and made great merriment.

– Levitifunk 4:20

Such were the echoing words of Ryan Turkienicz, guitarist of the New Groove Orchestra, that kicked off a recent performance at Main Hall. The New Groove Orchestra funk band was formed last year, composed of McGill music and arts majors from the Upper Rez and RVC communities. When one thinks of funk, artists such as the late James Brown, George Clinton, and others all come to mind, but to say that the “soul” influence of the NGO is limited to funk would be incorrect. Vocalist Meghan Patrick explains that the inspiration for her writing and style derives from many sources, such as the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin and “gospel-influenced” music.

The NGO has played at several McGill events, including SnowAP, the Faculty of Music’s Frosh week, and for organizations such as OXFAM. In the last year NGO has evolved from a relatively unknown band into a group that is widely appreciated at McGill and beyond. Don’t take my word for it though, the accolades and achievements speak for themselves: featured artist on MP3.com, over 20,000 (legal) downloads of their music, over 5,000 plays on their Myspace account – you get the idea.

The show at Main Hall started around 11 p.m. to a full house. From the onset the crowd enjoyed recently written material with “Whoozlefuzz.” NGO followed this up with their hit “Stuffin’ the Turkey,” which features terrific musicianship from the band and an excellent guitar solo. The show proceeded with NGO playing new tracks as well as old and mixing in an instrumental Soulive cover “Roll the Tape.” The band transitioned into “Lady Justice,” a song that has been consistently featured on MP3.com in the top 5 R&B/Soul/Urban downloads. For the encore, the band covered Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”; that really got the audience involved, because everyone has seen Pulp Fiction.

NGO appeals to a wide variety of listeners, particularly those with any sort of experience playing music or singing. Even the most critical music connoisseurs cannot deny the talent of this band. The way that Jeff Richardi and Nathaniel Marro, both on sax, carry the melody and pave the way for Derek Friesen and Kiel Howden on trumpet, along with Nadav Nirenberg on trombone to balance the sound, is really something. Max Bernstien maintains the beat on drums, along with Matt Powell, who’s not afraid to take the bassline for a walk. Ryan Turkienicz on guitar and Samito Matsinhe on keys work exceptionally well together, melding solos and great chord progression to round out the band’s sound. And if diverse instrumentation is not enough, vocalist Meghan Patrick’s range and dynamic power is unmatched by any other McGill band.


The New Groove Orchestra is recording a full-length album and hopes to release it in late April. Their final and biggest show of the year happens on April 28 at Just For Laughs Cabaret Music Hall (2111 St. Laurent). - the Mcgill Daily


Forget Coltrane's sheets of sound, if you want music that will hit you like a tonne of bricks, check out the debut album by The New Groove Orchestra. This ten-piece from Montreal is a jazz big band with a lot of soul. On their independently released debut album, Illharmonic, these young musicians put a fresh new spin on a very old groove, and made me wish there were more synonyms for the word "funk."

Formed in McGill University's music department through a unifying love of soul music, these young jazzheads prove that scholarly musical training works. Fronted by fiery singer Meghan Patrick, the NGO boasts a tight five-piece horn section and a smoking rhythm section worthy of a Tower of Power tribute band. But what sets these guys apart from other funk outfits is how intelligent their music is: horn harmonies straight out of a jazz arranging class, time-shifting grooves, and subtly layered rhythm make Illharmonic feel like a professional production. Clearly the jazz department at McGill is doing something right.

The album opens with the drum and bass groove track "Pandora's Funk Trunk," and by the time the wall of horns and Shaft-style wah guitar enter, you'll already be dancing. Illharmonic moves through old school funk, big band jazz, and classic soul with surprising precision, and rarely lets the groove drop. And despite boasting so many capable musicians, lengthy solos are kept well below jam-band levels. Tracks like "Lady Justice" break the mold of traditional funk and bring some modern R&B to the mix, while "Jimmy T. Funk" could be straight off a James Brown record. The horn lines on "Love's Fool" are painfully catchy, and the breakdown after the last chorus is as eloquent as it is powerful.

The New Groove Orchestra has been playing all around Montreal for the past two years, and has become a staple of McGill drinking events like Frosh. They've done well to create a buzz on the local music scene, and are taking advantage. While most local bands hold their CD launch parties in big local clubs, NGO went big with a huge funk party at The Lion's Den in New York. Couple that with a stint at this year's Montreal Jazz Festival and you've got a hot young band on the verge of getting huge.

Illharmonic can be purchased off the band's website, on cdbaby.com, and on iTunes. Recommended include "Lady Justice," "Love's Fool," and "Vitamin G." - Mondo Magazine


You know what Vermont needs more of? Funk bands! . . . OK, I’m completely messin’ with you. In fact, the last thing we need here in the land of the free jams and the home of bravely derivative noodle nonsense is another rock-blues-soul-jazz-hip-hop musical whatchamacallit. Just because you have a wah pedal and a Rhodes organ doesn’t entitle you to ramble on for an hour and a half and only play four songs. I don’t make the rules, people. I just enforce ’em. The one and only exception is if you’re really, really good. Or, maybe if you’re dying and the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants your wish to totally jam out, bro’. Maybe.

With their debut album, Illharmonic, Montréal’s New Groove Orchestra prove they might just be that funkdefying exception — the first one, just to clarify.

Created in 2005 by members of McGill University’s renowned jazz program, NGO is a sprawling 10-piece ensemble — or “orchestra” — featuring topnotch players from all over the world, including Vermont. Sax player and co-founder Nathaniel Marro is a product of Rut-Vegas, baby! That would be Rutland, for the flatlanders.

The band doesn’t necessarily break the mold when it comes to song structure or arrangements. But the difference between NGO and your average college funk outfit is that these cats can seriously play. The rhythm section consistently lays down airtight grooves throughout the record. In particular, bassist Matt Powell drops some of the slinkiest lines this side of vocalist Meghan Patrick’s mini-skirt. Uh-oh. Did I think that or type it? Hoo-boy!

Speaking of Patrick, the sultry front woman is a soul siren. Though lacking the full-bodied voice of say, Sharon Jones or Burlington ex-pat Heloise Williams, the Ontario native has some downright sexy pipes. Despite the relatively thin quality of her timbre, she’s usually more than capable of pulling off expressively engaging performances.

The heart and, um, soul of this band has got to be the horns. With a pair of trumpets, a trombone and two saxophones, their sound is full and well blended. My only real complaint with this disc is that I want more of them. The album’s best moments are when the horns take center stage, delivering nimbly played, forceful lines. Less cowbell. More horns. Got it?

The New Groove Orchestra has the potential to stand out in a cluttered field of sound-alike bands masquerading as originals. If you’ve grown tired of tired funk, check ’em out this Tuesday at Nectar’s. - Seven Days Newspaper, Vermont


"Their big sound, which must be heard live, will shake up the small venue, but take our word for it: a splendid time, as someone once said, is guaranteed for all." - the Montreal Gazette


As far as 10-piece funk-and-soul outfits go, the New Groove Orchestra can definitely hang in terms of musicianship, and is offered an additional leg up by the efforts of lead vocalist Meghan Patrick, who isn’t afraid to belt it out. It’s always great to hear a fully realized big band that knows how to hit it, complete with tight arrangements, a strong rhythm section and ample showcasing of the different corners of the group. Bluesy tunes like “Blues in Rhythm” and “Sincerely” left me a little underwhelmed, along with some trite lyrics, but the backend to this record is that it leaves you feeling that this band is certainly worth checking out live. 7.5/10 (Scott C) - The Mirror (Montreal)


Nathaniel Marro is bringing his new groove back to his old stomping grounds.

The Rutland-born saxophonist is a testament to what this city can produce — and his band New Groove Orchestra is a testament to what 10 talented musicians with a solid friendship, a music education from Montreal's McGill University and a hankering for funk can produce.

Montreal-based New Groove Orchestra, a young, 10-piece funk outfit, are venturing south Friday to fill Rutland's Sidelines Tavern with "the very big sound of 10 people playing funk," moving on to Manchester Bar & Grill Saturday for more of the same.

Marro, who began studying music in 2005 at McGill, is pumped to bring home his new band and show his parents and family, friends and the community what his nurtured musical talent — and everyone's collective support — has led to.

"It's good to come back to Rutland because this is where it started," said Marro, on the line this week from Montreal. "This is my first time really coming back to Rutland with a band like this, with a band I am really happy to be part of."

Marro started playing music in the fifth grade at Rutland Intermediate School.

"I remember the day they passed out instruments and how excited I was," he said.

Marro said his musical love affair took form from learning, practicing and playing in school music classes, school and community bands, including the Marble City Swing Band, and a host of extra-curricular, music-related programs and events.

"It's been Rutland through and through all my life, until I moved to Montreal," Marro said.

Marro also represented Rutland at the All Eastern Music Festival in Baltimore in 2005. He mentioned Glenn Giles, who directed him in the Rutland High School jazz program, and his sax teacher Jon Lorentz, former Castleton State College professor, as instrumental in his life.

New Groove formed in late 2005 when nine of them met and became friends in the first-year jazz music program at McGill (guitarist Ryan Turkienicz is not in the program). With a common love of soul and funk music, the group, who for the most part have been studying music their entire lives, decided a band might be fun.

"It's definitely not a common thing when you have such a big band meeting in the same exact place," said Marro, 21. "We wanted to bring all the elements we had with our jazz training to the band, around a groove-oriented sound. And we instantly clicked, undoubtedly. We knew we were on the same wavelength. When you have that many people, where you work and click perfectly together, it's rare."

With a five-piece horn section and a female vocalist with a strong and sultry voice that can bend even the hardest critic, NGO crafts catchy, danceable and undeniably funky tunes that fuse jazz, R&B and hip hop with big-band funk.

"We wanted to do something beyond jazz. We had aspirations to bring back old-school funk with an all-out full horns section," Marro said. "We're trying to bring back that old-school sound but put in new-school ideas and flavor.

"It wasn't too hard for us to find our sound."

With their respective instruments — guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, two saxophones, two trumpets, a trombone and vocalist Meghan Patrick — the collective that today is referred to as a Montreal buzz band created a buzz in early 2006 around the McGill dormitory when the trained musicians got ready to put on their first show in a piano room a few months after they met.

Close to 75 students showed up after rumors circulated that "something was going on that night."

"The fact we are a 10-piece band adds to our ridiculousness and definitely helps to attract people to shows," Marro said, as he echoed potential showgoers: "'10 pieces? What? Really? I'll go see that.'"

Marro said two of the songs on their current playlist — "The Stuffin'" and "Pandora's Funk Trunk" was born from elements of that first jam together, which ended with fervent "encore" calls.

Ranging in age from 19 to 22, the members, who are from New York, Boston, L.A. and, in Canada, Montreal, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Toronto, put out their debut album in the summer of 2007, the independently recorded and released "Illharmonic."

Marro counts among the band's collective influences Tower of Power, Lettuce, Soulive, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and James Brown.

"We all listen to basically everything. You bring in bands like A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Led Zeppelin — you have 10 people listening to all different kinds of music and bringing in ideas," said Marro. "When you're surrounded by so many musicians, especially with such a large improvisation (creed), new ideas are cropping up all the time. We have an open environment to suggest things, (which) is kind of necessary or else it's going to be chaos."

Marro, who said the band replaced its drummer a few weeks ago with a buddy who has been banging drums since the age of 5, said the band has a "close-knit family tie."

"W - The Rutland Herald


Led by a five-man horn section, Montreal's own New Groove Orchestra weave jazz, soul, pop and big band sensibilities into their funk-band persona with their virgin offering to the album gods. New Groove are at their best when plundering adventurous time signatures and grand arrangements that leave plenty of room to showcase the virtuosity of individual performers, especially bassist Matt Powell. See cuts Pandora's Funk Trunk or Jimmy T. Funk. Note the banality of these two song titles, evidence of a lack of depth in lyrical content and overall conception that, along with an awkward finished sound that heavily favours Meghan Patrick's vocals in the mix, give the young band some challenges to overcome in what promises to be a bright future. - The Hour (Montreal)


Discography

In 2007 we released illharmonic, a full length album that has been getting great reviews and radio play.

Photos

Bio

Beginning as a jam in the cramped basement of Mcgill University`s Douglas hall, the New Groove Orchestra has grown to be a full-force Funknomenon: in the past two years they`ve been playing popular venues all over Montreal, Toronto, Vermont, and New York as well as releasing their first album: ìllharmonic.

Its just nine young musicians trying to bring you the old school sound of funk and r&b with modern hip-hop vibes and some jazziness thrown in there for flavour. Five horns make a screaming wall of sound while the rhythm section keeps the dance floor bumping. Meghan Patrick`s soulful and sexy vocals are sure to make you holler for more...that is if you`re not too astounded to speak! For the Freshest Funk straight from the vine, grab ahold of our rhythmic remedies. Administer three doses of NGO daily; for best results, apply a generous amount directly to the auditory region for ten minutes or until grooving. If unfunkiness persists or dependence occurs, consult the events page for a walk-in clinic (AKA jamtastic concert) near you!