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Three Deep — Common Ground

June 17, 2011

Three Deep, a trio of veteran musicians (Russ Brannon, guitar; Billy Shields, keyboards; and producer/composer/percussionist Preston Glass), each with considerable recording experience to his credit, has unleashed a delightfully tasteful collection of tunes here on their collective debut, Common Ground.  It contains a great mix of laid-back smooth grooves combined with some solid blues and straight-ahead jazz offerings.  Nothing overly aggressive but certainly quite effective.

The opening track, “Funky Side of Time,” a cool mid-tempo groove with a potent hook gets this project start on a defining note, combing jazz, blues, and funk in a delicious potpourri of sound. From there, things seem to take off in different individually expressive and defining directions, from the organ-led version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” to the blues-dominated “Bluvis Gruvis” to the very bluesy and jazzy “Almost There” with the silky and seductive vocals of Amy Keys.

One of our most familiar and congenial contemporary jazz fixtures, Mr. Gerald Albright, appears here, offering his notable bass skills on the opening track and bass and sax work on a familiar and catchy Stevie Wonder/Syreeta Wright-penned track “To Know You is To Love You.”

If you’re looking for good, uncomplicated, unpretentious, gentle and smooth–yet moving–jazz on a level that not only demonstrates talent but strikes at the core of the genre, Common Ground should easily find common ground with you.  It’s certainly in firm ground as a solid project. – Ronald Jackson