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Featured Artist: Elliot Levine

CD Title: Urban Grooves

Year: 1997

Record Label: Artifex Records

Style: Contemporary Jazz

Review: An extraordinary composer / keyboardist " is the way many would describe Elliot Levine. Finding the love of music at the impressionable age of four, Levine played by ear and didn't begin to study music until high school. Living in the era of Rock n' Roll, Elliot somehow found his way toward jazz, fusion and funk.

Elliot reflects on his humble beginnings as a musician playing at the Peabody Book Shop, he says, "That's when I played for free beer, and the experience." The next phase in Elliot's career was when he hooked up with keyboard virtuoso, Greg Hatza. Hatza devoted the time and effort into Elliot's career because he could see that with Elliot's natural musical talent and a little guidance Elliot could become a master musician (It worked!). With his career full-speed ahead, Elliot became a much sought after sideman for greats such as Wilson Picket, The Soul Explosions and Brian McKnight just to name a few. Elliot still spends much of his time gigging with and on other's releases. However, he really enjoys composing and playing his own music.

On his second and latest release, "Urban Groove" Elliot showcases his own inventive style along with his smooth musical groove. "Urban Groove" starts out with a refreshing tune called "Bach-a-lism" which is derived from a Bach prelude and develops into stream of fresh ever-flowing piano playing composed by Elliot that will make you want to lay back and just get into the flow. Next, Elliot takes the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis song "Tender Love" and with the help of steel pan man, Ken "Professor" Philmore, creates a new twist to this seductive ballad. Elliot slows things down in order to get into the old school groove of the Marvin Gaye original, "Let's get it on". Marvin would be proud. The CD ends with our favorite track "Kind of Miles", a song written in the memory of the great Miles Davis. Elliot plays some trumpet samples that you would think came from Miles himself. This track is alive with the feel of deep funk/jazz fusion. A deep bass line played by Avon Lucas carries the song right into the depths of your soul. This is a "must buy" for jazz fans!

Record Label Website: http://www.artifex-ncd.com/

Reviewed by: Morrice Blackwell

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