State-Of-The-Art Smooth Jazz

Not only is Euge Groove one of the hottest new recording artists in smooth jazz, he also is wowing audiences as the sax guy on Tina Turner's current tour and, according to his label, has the most downloaded jazz song on the MP3.com Web site. It's that song, "Romeo and Juliet" (RealAudio excerpt), that leads Groove's debut CD on Warner Bros., a tempting collection of R&B-based,

bass-heavy beats and hook-filled sax leads that make for one of the best smooth-jazz CDs of the year.

Groove's throaty and sensual sax is his own, but his lines are reminiscent of Richard Elliott, with a touch of Boney James, two of the most popular saxophonists in smooth jazz. The Elliott synergy is no surprise when you realize it was Groove who stepped in after Elliott left Tower of Power to pursue a solo career. Groove (born Steven Eugene Grove) has his own firepower supporting him here: In addition to ubiquitous producer Paul Brown giving punch to the instrumentals, vocal tracks include "Give In to Me" (RealAudio excerpt), with harmonies from the boys of *NSync, and "Tenderhearted Lover" (RealAudio excerpt), with sexy vocals by John Stoddard. It's all state-of-the-art smooth jazz — romantic, soulful, propelled by a powerful sax over irresistible melodies.