Logan Hanna: guitar
Andrew Simons: vocals, bass guitar, double bass
Gerald Stephens: Fender Rhodes, piano, Hammond organ
Jesse Williams: drums
Recorded at Eclectic Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
Engineer: Nick Sparks
Produced by Sam Levine
Executive Producer, Lawrence A. Simons
Mastered by Jim Demain, Yes Master Studio, Nashville
"Groundspeak is more than four people. While all four of the members are excellent composers and performers, the creativity and empathy between them gives the group a unique voice with something significant to say. After a short time in the studio, we realized that no two performances would be the same and that recording this group was going to be a little like making a still photo of a dance improvisation. Nevertheless, record them we did and now you get to enjoy their efforts. There is a wonderful energy in these tracks that is gracefully held in captivity by the sensitive work of Nick Sparks, engineer. This is not just four hardworking musicians - - - this is a Band."
* * *
"By Mark Jordan
Special to The Commercial Appeal
Friday, June 20, 2008
It's difficult to know where -- or whether -- to draw the line between jam bands and jazz. Most fans of the latter would argue if it ain't got that swing, it ain't got that jazz thing. But as players like John Scofield continue to play around with funkier rhythms and jammers like Medeski, Martin & Wood display growing compositional sophistication, the designations seem more superficial, boiling down to what kind of venues you play and whether the audience wears ties or tie-dyes.
Memphis' Groundspeak is one band that manages effectively to bridge the two worlds. Popular with dancers in Midtown bars, the four-piece has impeccable jazz credentials as proven on their debut release, Local Language.
With keyboardist Gerald Stephens setting an atmospheric groove early on, the band starts off with a couple of straight-ahead fusion numbers, including "Karate Chop Hop," a showcase for guitarist Logan Hanna that he makes the best of. But from there Groundspeak changes things up, throwing in some Scofield-style funk ("Beignet Blues"), a Flamenco-flavored splash of George Winston ("The Heights"), a reggae jam ("Outside Orbits"), and a couple of bluesy pieces with nonjazz vocals ("Slow Creep Sleep" and "Broken Tongue").
If the playing throughout is a little less intense than their live shows, it is never less than engaging, with bassist Andrew Simons and drummer Jesse Williams giving solid, unflashy support. And the different musical looks Groundspeak give us on this outing make for an enjoyable listen no matter what you call it."