Euge Groove Album ‘Comfort Zone’ Out August 25

On August 25, 2023, Shanachie Entertainment will release Comfort Zoe, Euge Groove’s thirteenth recording as a leader. The number thirteen is a spiritual number and one that is often associated with change and rebirth. “The title Comfort Zone came about because I was anything but comfortable writing this album, and I needed to get out of my comfort zone…writing songs in different keys then I’m used to, made me come up with different melodies and chord structures.”

If you are wondering where Euge’s comfort zone lies, it is within his studio. “I could spend the rest of my life here. It has everything I need to feed myself.” Never one to rest on his laurels, the consummate hit-maker, celebrated saxophonist, composer and producer, has worked with everyone from Tina Turner, Eurythmics, Aaron Neville and Richard Marx, to Joe Cocker, Tower of Power, Huey Lewis and Luther Vandross. In an industry where artists are consistently put in a box and categorized, Euge Groove continues to let his heart lead professing, “Good music is good music, no matter what.” 

Comfort Zone Follows Euge Groove’s 2020 recording Sing My Song. The album grew out of collaborating with bassist Corney Mims and pianist Tracy Carter. “They both have been very instrumental in helping me shape the sound of my recordings over the last 15 years. It came to me to do some good old fashion writing sessions in my studio with them. We just sat down and whoever had an idea, they threw it out there.” 

A graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Music, Steven EUGEne GROoVE (Euge Groove!) was in Hagerstown, Maryland and grew up in a musical home. His mother played piano and taught the Cherub choir at Christ Lutheran Church, and he began his own musical pursuits at the age of seven, beginning with the piano and adding the saxophone at nine. But for Euge it was in elementary school where he discovered that music was his calling. “In fifth grade I thought I’d be in school band the rest of my life.”

He later discovered two saxophonists who had a profound effect on his approach to playing. “One was French classical player Marcel Mule, who really defined what the sax was supposed to sound like for me and the other was David Sanborn. He took that sound and brought it into the mainstream world,” reminisces Euge Groove.  He explains, “I’ve listened to everyone from Grover (Washington Jr.) and (David) Sanborn to (Charlie) Parker and (John) Coltrane as well as (Michael) Brecker, (Stan) Getz, King Curtis, Junior Walker, Richard Elliott and Kirk Whalum. The thing is, the more mature we become the more those influences fuse into something new. I always listened to a lot of R&B growing up, fused that with Pop music, then with the Gospel music. Hopefully all these influences come through in my music and I am able to create my own unique expression.”

With the release of Comfort Zone, Euge Groove further asserts himself as one of the most distinctive artists in Contemporary Jazz and assures us that he is in the zone. He also lets us in on a little secret – balance is the key to everything. “When I am not making music, I love driving the California coast. I’m very fortunate that I can be to the coast in about 15 minutes. It’s very Zen for me. Also, pizza. I love making pizza. I have a wood pizza oven in my backyard, and when I’m up to it, I get up early in the morning, make the dough, the sauce, and for dinner fire up the oven. I’ve got to be in the mood though. I get more requests in the house than I make. It’s like music for me; You can’t force it!”

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