Various Artists

Birth of the Groove

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Funky jazz was not born on the CTI label in the early '70s (making the title of this sampler CD a bit silly), but the ten selections on this reissue do contain a great deal of worthwhile grooving music. Some of the performances (such as George Benson's "I Remember Wes") are quite rare, and many of the songs have not yet been otherwise reissued on CD. Suitable as dance music, for backgrounds or for close listenings, this is an enjoyable if not essential set. Among the artists featured are Deodato, Joe Farrell ("Canned Funk"), Esther Phillips, Johnny Hammond Smith, Hank Crawford, Stanley Turrentine ("Storm"), Milt Jackson, Dave Matthews, Idris Muhammad and Benson; among the sidemen are Grover Washington Jr. and David Sanborn, both captured early in their careers.