Home Read Classic Album Review: Masters of Groove | Meet Dr. No

Classic Album Review: Masters of Groove | Meet Dr. No

A moden jazz quartet put a new spin on the Caribbean-flavoured score to Dr. No.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


OK, the whole Bond-theme trend has become as cliche as, well, your average Bond movie. But on the plus side, at least this New York outfit aren’t just another sample-happy electronica duo.

Masters of Groove are real live musicians — a modern jazz quartet featuring organist Reuben Wilson, drummer Bernard (Pretty) Purdie, guitarist Grant Green Jr. and bassist Tarus Mateen. And these groove merchants’ take on 007 is unique. Rather than rework overdone tracks everyone knows, they focus on the Caribbean-flavoured score to Dr. No. Only once does that twangy “dum, da-da-dum-dum, dum-dum” guitar lick surface; these cats spend the rest of the disc turning the Jamaican sounds of Monty Norman’s Under the Mango Tree, Kingston Calypso (here mislabelled III Blind Mice) and Jump Up into thick, ropy grooves with percolating organ lines, funky bass licks and plenty of snappy drumwork. Call them licensed to chill — and call me stirred, if not shaken.