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.
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.
The CD will exclusively be available for purchase at the forthcoming Steve Lukather & El Grupo shows in November 2005. There are currently no plans for this album to be issued on general release, either online or in record stores. To be sold on a first come-first served basis at the venues before and after shows, El Grupo hope to be able to sign and personalise as many CD’s as possible after each gig.
With a 16 show tour kicking off in New York City on 29 October 2005 before a further 3 week trip around more of Europe’s premier jazz clubs, the set list will undoubtedly be revamped to incorporate tunes from Lukather’s festive season album, Santamental.