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Boston’s Jazz Sensation Gregory Groover Jr. Blossoms with ‘Loveabye’

by Madonna

In the realm of jazz, Gregory Groover Jr. was once just a young saxophonist with big dreams, envisioning his ideal ensemble by mixing and matching his favorite musicians. Now, with the release of “Loveabye,” his debut album featuring original compositions, those dreams have materialized into reality. “If I’m going to dream, I should dream big,” Groover remarks, reflecting on the stellar lineup of musicians who enthusiastically joined him on this journey.

Recorded last August on his 30th birthday, the album features an illustrious crew including vibraphonist Joel Ross, guitarist Matthew Stevens, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Vicente Archer, and drummer Marcus Gilmore—artists who have left indelible marks on recent jazz recordings. With Groover’s evocative compositions and masterful saxophone playing, “Loveabye,” released under the esteemed Criss Cross label, promises to introduce one of Boston’s most prolific jazz talents to a broader audience.

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Groover’s musical roots run deep, having grown up in the vibrant atmosphere of one of Boston’s historic places of worship, Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church in Roxbury, where his father, Rev. Gregory Groover Sr., serves as pastor. Mentored by acclaimed musicians like saxophonist Walter Smith III and trumpeter Jason Palmer, both Berklee faculty members, Groover has flourished as an artist and educator.

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“Loveabye” is a collection of heartfelt tributes, with compositions honoring love, personal connections, and cherished memories. From the soulful “In For A Pound Or Penny” to the poignant “May All Your Storms Be Weathered,” Groover’s music reflects his deep emotional resonance and rich musical heritage. Each piece tells a story, whether it’s a homage to his church community or a tribute to a lost loved one.

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Groover’s jazz is a fusion of diverse influences, blending the spiritual essence of his upbringing with the improvisational freedom of jazz and the melodic sensibility of pop. Producer Walter Smith III notes the eclectic palette of Groover’s inspirations, from John Coltrane and Charlie Parker to the Carpenters and John Mayer, which infuse his music with a distinctive hue.

Despite meticulous planning, the recording sessions took on a life of their own, with songs evolving and taking unexpected turns. Groover’s compositions, marked by their versatility, can be reimagined in various forms, a testament to his artistry as a composer.

As Groover continues to evolve as a musician and educator, he remains committed to breaking barriers and inspiring others to pursue their passions. With “Loveabye,” he not only celebrates his own musical journey but also paves the way for future generations of jazz artists.

In a world where the choice between teaching and performing often feels binary, Groover stands as a beacon of possibility, proving that one can excel in both realms. As he aptly puts it, “You can do both.”

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