Groovexpress: Ukrainian Doll

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Artist: Groovexpress

Artist: Groovexpress
Title: Ukrainian Doll

"Groovexpress, are in a word, splendid, and somehow transform jazz with Latin 'flavor' into a fresh experience. Their most recent album Ukrainian Doll is absolutely not for the grocery line, but rather a cross between Stevie Wonder instrumentals and Carlos Santana beats-in other words, music for the sensual of heart and skin." - Alice Neiley (New York, NY) | Rating: 5/5 'Ukrainian Doll' is the latest release from internationally acclaimed band Groovexpress: an upbeat and accessible fusion of blues, jazz, and funk that embodies the spirit of the great music icons of the Sixties, Seventies, and beyond. Yet while the album - a stunning collection of original material, composed and produced by New Zealand born, musical director, producer and guitarist, Mykeljon - certainly takes inspiration from the traditional "jazz standard" format that made Davis, Coltrane and others household names, this is no smooth jazz: this is new groove music for the 21st Century. Alongside Mykeljon, 'Ukrainian Doll' features NZ compatriots 'Haggis' Maguiness, harmonica; Ernest Semu, Hammond B-3, acoustic and electric pianos; and Bruce Kerr, bass; as well as Los Angeles, CA-based saxophonist, Robert Kyle, and drummer/percussionist Isaac Sanchez. Reflecting the deep experience of this group of musicians - whose members have shared both stage and studio with artists diverse as multiple Grammy Award-winning vocalists Michael McDonald and Linda Ronstadt, L.A. session legends John Ferraro and Pat Kelley, and the late Kiwi guitar virtuoso Martin Winch - 'Ukrainian Doll' exudes a real 'live' energy; the passionate performances of the "all-star session that it is" (Nick DeRiso) captured on record with a rare transparency that transports this six-piece combo straight into your lounge room. Laying it down "right from the first", the album opens with title track, 'Ukrainian Doll'. Written by Maguiness and Mykeljon, sax and harmonica jointly introduce the melody, before opening the floor to the swirling sounds of Semu's B-3 organ. 'Mi Bella Paola' and 'No Way Home' continue the jazz-funk feel, with Kerr and Mykeljon's catchy riffs interwoven with juicy horn lines from Kyle and Maguiness. The gospel-influenced 'I Say Praise' is a "gorgeous reminiscence" which allows the soloists pause for reflection, before launching into the stomping blues, 'Foxy Brown'. The deep musicality of drummer and percussionist Sanchez is aptly showcased on the next track, 'Tell Me Why'. Consummated by some passionate solo moments and Kerr's nuanced fretless bass work, Sanchez' lush yet spacious soundscape creates a twilit atmosphere. 'High Heels' signals a return to a more metropolitan flavour, foreshadowing the fat urban groove of 'E Type Blues' and the "attitude and gumption" of the pumping 'Pretty Little Thang'. Finally, in a nod to Mykeljon's song-writing talents, Groovexpress conclude the album with the Latin rock-influenced 'You Are My Fantasy', featuring Mykeljon himself on vocals. Recorded across two continents, yet masterfully capturing the energy of a live performance, 'Ukrainian Doll' is set to shake up the jazz/blues scene both in New Zealand and around the world. Already making a name for themselves in New Zealand area for their musical tunes and high-energy shows, Groovexpress will be playing a number of gigs throughout the greater Auckland regions this summer. So if groove is your thing, get some friends together, grab a ticket and hop aboard - Groovexpress is not to be missed. ~~*~~ GROOVEXPRESS: 'Ukrainian Doll' Mykeljon | acoustic & electric guitars, vocals 'Haggis' Maguiness | harmonicas Ernest Semu | piano, organ, keyboards, synths Robert Kyle | tenor sax Bruce Kerr | bass Isaac Sanchez | drums, percussion Track 1 composed by Mykeljon & Derek 'Haggis' Maguiness All other tracks composed by Mykeljon APRA AMCOS Recorded, mixed & produced by Mykeljon at E Type Studios, Auckland, New Zealand Sax recorded by Robert Kyle at Dark Delisious Music, Altadena, CA Drums & percussion recorded by Isaac Sanchez at Downtown Studios, Anaheim, CA Mastered by Brian Lipski at The SoundLAB, Pennsauken, NJ Front cover & album booklet design by Paul Lyons 'Ukrainian Doll' tattoo art by Jolene Winckel Photography by Rex Haslip & SpeedShotz Special thanks to Nick Haslip An E Type Records release © ? Mykeljon 2014.

1.1 Ukrainian Doll
1.2 Mi Bella Paola
1.3 I Say Praise
1.4 No Way Home
1.5 Foxy Brown
1.6 Tell Me Why
1.7 High Heels
1.8 Pretty Little Thang
1.9 E Type Blues
1.10 You Are My Fantasy

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