This limited-edition CD perfectly captures the genial ambience and jamming brilliance of four of Los Angeles jazz club favourites on stunning form during Steve Lukather & El Grupo’s Summer Tour 2005.
With over 65 minutes of the finest moments from those shows, this CD offers fans a special opportunity to enjoy high-quality and professionally mixed live performances without compromise. For those fortunate enough to acquire a copy of El Grupo live, this is a gem that surely compares with the quality of Luke & Larry Carlton’s Grammy Award winning No substitutions.
With a collective discography which traverses a massive array of international artists and a spectrum of musical cultures, and a determination to stretch beyond the boundaries of formulaic studio sessions, the four friends challenge themselves and their audiences with extemporisation that makes many of us laugh with incredulity. Not only does the set-list often change from show to show but each and every performance is entirely unique. El Grupo’s club gigs set the standard for improvisation; their hard rocking fusion of jazz, funk and latino grooves never cease to astonish those of us who have seen a number of their shows. The truth is that any one of the takes which Bob Bradshaw recorded would have thrilled listeners. Unlike the production-drenched perfection of studio albums, this CD is completely unadulterated but for the splicing necessary to condense parts of a live performance to a single CD. Tasteful yet fiery licks abound, and as the tour flyer promised, fun is evident in large portions.
Featuring Lukather on guitar and vocals, Steve Weingart on keyboards, Oskar Cartaya on bass and Joey Heredia on drums & percussion, this collection features revitalised reworkings of Los Lobotomy’s Dismemberment, Michael Landau’s I’m buzzed, Weather Report’s Birdland, Jimi Hendrix’s Little wing and Jeff Beck’s Led boots. The results of the diversity of the band’s respective musical backgrounds is compelling; from an intricate passage of solo guitar to a latino party rumba, and from heavy funk to Heavy Weather, this collection is a totally honest representation of the performances on the night. As I sit writing this with the El Grupo live CD playing, I’m reminded of the great times I had at the European Summer Tour shows, partying along with Lukather’s passionately loyal fans who supported their musical hero with an open mind and keen ears for musical excellence.
- Will Minting 2005-