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Urban Groove

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All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
Even if the title of Marcus Johnson's latest disc Urban Groove isn't as fanciful as that of his 1998 effort Chocolate City Groovin', the thread is clear: Like his chief influence George Duke, he's all about rhythm, writing nice melodies but always in the context of solid funk. That said, there's a certain irony in pegging the most appealing cuts from Urban Groove as those that digress from the typical pop-funk trappings. "Sandy Point," for instance, keeps the rhythm relaxed so that the lush piano hook -- so reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is" -- can shine through seductively. Even better, Johnson really hits pay dirt when he goes the porch-rocking blues route...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
Even if the title of Marcus Johnson's latest disc Urban Groove isn't as fanciful as that of his 1998 effort Chocolate City Groovin', the thread is clear: Like his chief influence George Duke, he's all about rhythm, writing nice melodies but always in the context of solid funk. That said, there's a certain irony in pegging the most appealing cuts from Urban Groove as those that digress from the typical pop-funk trappings. "Sandy Point," for instance, keeps the rhythm relaxed so that the lush piano hook -- so reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is" -- can shine through seductively. Even better, Johnson really hits pay dirt when he goes the porch-rocking blues route on "Down Home." Over a boogie-woogie piano foundation, Kevin Levi's sax -- simply serviceable to Johnson's keyboard lines on so many other cuts -- honks happily along with Johnson's chipper Fender Rhodes musings. The disc closes with Johnson stripped to the bone emotionally, accompanied only by an acoustic piano and quiet synth embellishments on "The Puzzle." Elsewhere, he keeps things grooving happily, though less remarkably. The undeniably catchy sax-synth hook of the opening track, "Pavilion," wears thin after repetition, while "18th Street Loungin'" is playful Joe Sample-flavored fluff. "Plush" has a cool, hypnotic groove with the contrabass playing of Walter Cosby and the drumming of Eric Valentine, but Johnson's meandering Rhodes melody doesn't build to any sort of heartfelt payoff.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/19/2000
  • Label: Three Keys Music
  • UPC: 085365441026
  • Catalog Number: 54410

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Pavilion (5:14)
  2. 2 Coming of the New (5:09)
  3. 3 18th Street Loungin' (5:43)
  4. 4 On My Mind (3:27)
  5. 5 Funk Master (4:51)
  6. 6 Sandy Point (3:37)
  7. 7 Is It Good to You (4:48)
  8. 8 Down Home (4:18)
  9. 9 Hormone (4:12)
  10. 10 Plush (5:51)
  11. 11 In You There's Me (6:19)
  12. 12 The Puzzle (3:57)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Marcus Johnson Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Piano
Alyson Williams Vocals
Walter Cosby Contrabass Guitar
Kevin Levi Saxophone
Eric Valentine Drums
David Dyson Bass
Marshall Keys Saxophone, Guest Appearance
Rodney Lewis Bass, Guest Appearance
Stan Cooper Guitar
Jacques Johnson Guitar
Keith Ailer Vocals
Bryan Mills Synthesizer, Keyboards, Guest Appearance
Kevin "Stixx" Marshall Drums, Guest Appearance
Eric Parham Keyboards, Guest Appearance
Phillip Lowman Drums, Guest Appearance
Lorenzo Sands Bass Guitar, Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Jeff Gruber Engineer, Mastering
Marcus Johnson Producer, drum programming
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