Feb. 12, 2013
Saxman/multi-instrumentalist Rod Tate steps forward with another white-hot, rhythm-filled project. Put on your asbestos suit when listening. That could be the headline for a news article announcing this mostly up-tempo, groove-tight piece of work called Groovitis that often demonstrates the saxman’s delightful long-windedness. He rolls through this very generous set of hot tunes (average time of the tracks is somewhere around six minutes) with such energy that you just know he’s fully enjoying this party…as will you.
Often when listening to the effort and power an artist puts in his music, I can envision his or her live set. With Tate, I can just see the fired-up audience gyrating, clapping, finger-poppin, head-boppin’ and just begging for more as it reacts to these monster jams. Such jams include the lead and title track, a long-winded and totally electric tune followed by one of equal effect, “The Gator Dance,” followed by, yes, another don’t-even-think-about-sitting-down track called “Change Up.” Yep, by now, you’re singing rapper Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.”
Of course, let’s not omit the slow, tender, and romantic tracks here like the seven-minute aptly titled “Moonlight Romance.” Full of sexiness and that alluring and irresistible call to shower your lover with heat and affection, Tate had to fully know how this tune would be received.
Staying on that romantic journey, Tate offers the sultry, saucy, and smooth “The Chill Zone,” simply a winner by all standards for romantic pieces. This track has one of the most hypnotic melodies and hooks. Enticing piece of work, to say the least.
Kicking it back into high gear, the saxman takes off again with the up-tempo and funky “Really?” (with keys making an impressive appearance here, by the way) and “It’s the Weekend Baby!”
So it goes throughout this album with Tate switching from tenor to soprano sax toward the end of the album with all the ease you’d expect from one so talented and driven by sheer momentum.
Whether taking the place apart with fiery up-tempo jams or offering the tenderness and seductiveness of the slow jams, Tate’s delivery is so effortless that you know this had to have been a spiritual encounter for him. You just can’t get that kind of sizzle without feeling that something more is driving you. In a nutshell, this is the one CD for those liking action-packed contemporary jazz. – Ronald Jackson