The Groovy Goodness: by Chris Mann, Smooth Jazz Daily…. I reviewed fo/mo/deep's previous record "A Beautiful Bang" and I'm glad to have been able to keep up with the band between the release of that record and 2014’s deliciously titled "The Groovy Goodness". As I type this, summer seems like it's upon us and the burst of energy that is '1974' just makes it feel all the more real. The passionate sax and electric piano solos reinforce what the rhythm section has told you from minute one - it's on! I just went back and listened to this song after drafting this first paragraph - because I can't get that sax hook out of my head, in fact this whole song has grabbed me and won't let go. Funk lovers are in more familiar territory with 'Block Party', which is a sax-led head-nodding number. There is a lot of air in Ron Holmes' fretless bass line and André Scott's snare drum pattern - which I always love - this must be a great jam live. Is it a Motown track, or a big band number creepin' up on you? Neither - it's 'Groidology'. It has a real swagger, helped by the loping upright bass line. I loved this song the first time I heard it and it gets better all the time. The rhythmic figure on piano and *that* trombone solo bring it on home. Mighty, mighty. Blues? Is John Lee Hooker in the house? 'Peach Cobbler' has an old Crusaders sound - and I mean that this sounds like Wilton Felder and Joe Sample circa 1972. The break midway through has an almost carnival vibe - it sounds like someone is having a ball in the studio! 'If We, Can Be..' is a short but grand solo piano intro to the ballad 'As She Walked Away', which is a lovely segue, let me say. Joshua Boyd gets a sense of drama reminiscent of the Isley Brothers' 'Highways of my Life'. The ballad itself is very radio friendly, and I mean that in the most positive way. Smooth jazz and NAC stations should be giving this heavy airplay. Tenor sax takes the melody but it's the piano that really sets the tone. The swell of the fretless bass and that skipping snare are more hypnotic than you realize. There's a lovely retro feel to the chunky 'That Song (This Love)'. Keith Newton's tenor sax leads off and states the melody clearly before the groove lays back and the sax takes a lyrical solo. The electric piano interjects but the pleading sax takes it home. That same sax burns on the short and very sweet solo piece 'You Can Love me Twice the Next Time'. Hear this on headphones and feel chills. 'The Price of Suga'' is a frenzied piece written in 6/4. The fretless bass almost sounds like a voice, and the electric piano and soprano sax whirl around as if to drive the bass crazy. Then the bass goes crazy - the tension was building to the point where it had to cut loose. Peace of mind by the end? You decide. Certainly in the closer 'Chamsa (A Tribute to Shimrit Shoshan)' the solo piano makes you close your eyes in contemplation. My review of the previous CD I talked about the honest nature of this band's music. They have a tightness and togetherness that must come from the many gigs I see publicized on social media, and it's delivered to music buyers intact thanks to uncluttered and elegant production which, to my ears, is rare in these times. The more I listen, the more I'm drawn in to the fo/mo/deep sound - and I like that. And here's a shout out to Ron and Sandra Holmes for one of the most funky, engaging and joyful pieces of cover design I've seen in years. It's often used as my computer wallpaper, both at home and at work. Drawn in… - Chris Mann, Smooth Jazz Daily
Fo/Mo/Deep: The Groovy Goodness (2014) By EVERETT R. DAVIS, Bassist Ron "FatKat" Holmes and the members of fo/mo/deep are back in a big way with the highly anticipated release of The Groovy Goodness. The The Groovy Goodness contains nine pleasantly delightful, cool funk jazz tracks that take you on a winding journey reminiscent of the 70's, and 80's smooth jazz that moved, grooved, and soothed the soul. The jam session opens with "1974" (T. MӓKynen) which is loaded with catchy in-and-out piano and saxophone melodies that stimulate your mind body and soul. Known for holding nothing back, the group glides into the funky and upbeat "Block Party" (K. Newton) which sets up the groove for the hardest hitting and most soulful track of the release, "Groidology" (P. Everett). This edgy fusion laced track spotlights the rhythmic tenor sax, trombone, and piano solos of Dr. Keith Newton, N. Michael Goecke, and Josh Boyd respectfully. It's loaded with a hard hitting musical euphoria that will surely get you in the groove whether you are on your morning commute or just kicking back and relaxing. Slowing down the pace a bit, "Peach Cobbler" (R. Holmes) is a smorgasbord of cool vocal taunts, superb saxmanship, and a smooth bass track sprinkled with a generous dose of organ. "As She Walked Away" (R. Holmes) is a relaxing and imaginative track that easily draws you in while relaxing piano melodies and sultry sax grooves invoke tranquil thoughts and images that are sometimes best left to the imagination. The set closes out with "Chamsa" which features a masterful piano solo by Joshua Boyd and is a tribute to jazz pianist Shimrit Shoshan who passed in 2012 at age of 29. Composer and bassist, Ron "Fatkat" Holmes and fo/mo/deep do not disappoint with The Groovy Goodness. This is a delightful and stimulating return to the days when cool jazz reigned supreme. - EVERETT R. DAVIS, All About Jazz
................"Big thank you once again for coming out and playing at our little series. You guys sounded really tight, funky and just groovin, really great stuff. It's been a while since I saw you last and you guys just keep getting tighter. We had some really positive comments from people who probably haven't seen you before. Keep up the great work!"......- Mark Subel, Harrison West Jazz Stage
fo/mo/deep – The Groovy Goodness (2014) Fresh from the fusion triumph of A Beautiful Bang, Columbus, Ohio’s fo/mo/deep is poised to take listeners on another funky ride through the fun side of jazz. The Groovy Goodness — on sale June 3, 2014 — does a good job maintaining that good vibe fostered on the prior release without going out and mailing it in with a A Beautiful Bang, Vol. 2. The Groovy Goodness is its own entity, marked particularly by a feel that a bit more organic and although the band’s handmade music was already too rugged to be considered your run-of-the-mill smooth jazz, Groovy is maybe a tad angular still. Led by its bassist Ron ‘FatKat’ Holmes, fo/mo/deep is completed by Dr. Keith Newton (saxophones), Andre’ Scott (drums) and Joshua Boyd (keyboards). Funk remains the name of the game, and you’ll find sinewy grooves in “Block Party” and “Peach Cobbler” and “That Song (This Love),” where Holmes can be counted on to anchor them down with chunky, imposing bass lines while Newton’s big, impassioned tone carries the bulk of the melody with Boyd rounding it out. “Groidology” is contemporary but connects directly to the acoustic soul-bop of the 60s, especially with the guest appearance of N.M. Goecke on trombone. “The Price of Suga’” suggests the underrated funky but lissome harmonic progression of Spyro Gyra. A Beautiful Bang had four covers, The Groovy Goodness has just two, and these are much more obscure. “1974″ is from Finnish flugelhorn specialist Jukka Eskola’s 2005 self-titled album and composed by his drummer Teppo Mäkynen. Its breezy, Brazilian vibe and the fetching melody captured on electric piano are faithfully captured by fo/mo/deep, but Newton along with former band keyboardist Kevin Jones share the lead voice. “Chasma” is a sober but pretty melody that was composed by the promising Israeli pianist Shimrit Shoshan, who died suddenly a couple of years ago at the age of 29. Boyd alone gives a tender reading of this song on acoustic piano. A regional act with nationwide chops, poise and appeal, fo/mo/deep keeps a good thing going with The Groovy Goodness. - S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews
Fo/Mo/Deep: The Groovy Goodness: Very nice work, and another reason to reconsider jazz as a member of the Urban format. Very contemporary, funky, and of course, jazzy. The Groovy Goodness covers a lot of ground, and it is an energy charged, engaging listen right from the start. - smoothsoul.net
Brent Black, @ CriticalJazz ….”A release as deep and rich as the cover art, I’m hooked…The development of a major label artist or act is rare. Sign the deal and your job is to now write for radio and play what sells. With all the baggage that comes with an independent artist that one shiny star is artistic integrity. Fo/Mo/Deep is back with an eclectic groove that pulls from a myriad of influences yet with the skills necessary to keep it tight and moving. Diversity is indeed a righteous groove. I don’t venture into the contemporary jazz waters often but in keeping with my commitment to the independent artist, Fo/Mo/Deep makes it a pleasure and they make it easy. ………”
Fo/Mo/Deep – A Beautiful Bang....You can find out about this 5-piece, Ohio-based ‘funky jazz collective’ on their website. I can tell you that ‘A Beautiful Bang’ is fo/mo/deep’s second album (after ‘Eclecticism’) and, well, let’s get right into it… I’m a fan of funky jazz collectives, such as Incognito and Down to the Bone and I’m already placing FMD squarely in that bracket when I hear the bass-driven groove of the opener ‘Jawjacka’ (love that title). This instrumental focuses on the funk and has some nice key changes. Keith Newton’s tenor sax is well up in the mix and sounds really strong. The whole song reminds me of Paz at their best. That same sax tone pervades on the sexy ‘Martini Blues’, which slows the pace right down and allows you to enjoy the flavour of Kevin Jones’ old-school electric piano. I’m drawn in already. FMD’s take on Bobby Hutcherson’s ‘Montara’ has that deeply urban jazzy vibe that I’ve loved for so long in Incognito’s music. From the first few bars, I know I’ll be playing this for years. Ron Holmes’ sinewy bassline teams perfectly with André Scott’s crisp snare and underpins this gorgeous mid-tempo instrumental all the way. Over headphones especially, Kevin Pouncey’s percussion really adds a layer of style to this song. Fatkat’s fretless bass solo sure does it for me! On ‘Mama Said, Mama Said’ the only word you need to remember is funk. Some nice rhythm guitar gets poured over the already tight rhythm section. The organ solo on here is straight out of the 1970’s – where I live that’s a great thing! The 6 String Electric Upright bass solo that starts ‘Da Ba Di Do (Sonrisa de Zoe)’ took me by surprise but I was pleased to hear it build into a nicely offbeat, almost Latin instrumental with some nicely zany background vocals and percussion. Makes me smile each time I play it. The title track has,” A Beautiful Bang” in contrast, almost an African feel to it, with some great backbeats and lively percussion touches. The horn arrangement is particularly worth mention, as is the funky breakdown which must work great live! Let your hips move to the slinky reggae wiggle that is ‘Red Clay’. It’s a Freddie Hubbard composition and I’ve never heard the original – I don’t care because this has flavour, then more flavour, and then just a little more… Where is the album’s big ballad? It’s right here in ‘The Wanting’, which brings a complete change of tempo from all that’s gone before and allows soprano sax acoustic piano to weave a melody together that will really stick in your head. This is modern instrumental soul on a par with Brian Culbertson, Marcus Johnson or Marion Meadows. Fabulous! Keith Newton’s hits – and holds – an impossibly high note on soprano sax to kick off a slippery version of Fela Kuti’s ‘Gentleman’. It it weren’t for the cleanliness of the production, you’d swear this had been recorded back in the day. The groove is repetitive and hypnotic and really gets under your skin. As you’d expect from Fela Kuti, the song has a message – and it comes across loud and clear! Holmes goes nice and low – ah yes, a 6-string bass gives away the fact that this funk is now!! This band can write – and play – the blues and they let you hear it to great effect on the sax-led ‘My Baby Gots’ the Blues, Blues’. It’s a classic – well, it’s going to be. Talking of classics, John Coltrane’s lovely ‘Naima’ has been interpreted by many artists and this grand treatment is my favorite from the versions I’ve heard – and they include those by Gene Harris and Tom Browne. Its beauty lies in its simplicity: we have piano and tenor sax and that’s all we need for a gorgeous piece of real jazz. This isn’t a cover version – it’s a homage. When you read a title like ‘A Plethora of Pleasant Thoughts’ you expect the musical equivalent of your favorite comfort food – well I do. And here it is, with its Latin sway and soothing percussion. Fans of Mongo Santamaria and Dave Valentin, you won’t be disappointed with this one. ¡Sabroso! The sombre closer ‘The Road’ has a lovely ‘live’ feel, coming mostly from the way the drum track is recorded. The sax, piano and background vocals all share a 70’s, almost Blue Note-style, soulfulness. Hard to describe that I mean by that – you really need to hear this record anyway. In the years that I’ve been writing about music, it’s always been a pleasure to hear the latest release from my favorite artists. It’s a real joy though to hear music this good from a band I just discovered. The writing, performing and producing talent on display here is really dazzling, but what I like most is the honest, funky nature of a band that knows where its roots lay, what it does well and what its audiences are going to love. - Chris Mann, Smooth Jazz Daily
Fo/Mo/Deep - The Groovy Goodness 4/3: O's Notes: The Groovy Goodness is the perfect title for this collection of ten funky R&B jams produced by bassist Ron "FatKat" Holmes. fo/mo/deep is Dr. Keith Newton (sax), André Scott (d), Joshua Boyd (keyboards) and Holmes. The groove is powerful and contagious starting with Newton's "Block Party" and continuing with "Peach Cobbler" and "That Song". This is old school jazz, funk and soul reconstituted for 2014! - D. Oscar Groomes , O's Place Jazz Magazine
fo/mo/deep — Eclecticism, Oct. 15, 2010: With a very alluring, ear-friendly blend of jazz, world, and soul influences, fo/mo/deep, this talented group of musicians which reminds one of the iconic group War in some ways, teases and pleases with touches and tastes of piano, sax, trumpet, and percussion in all the right places on this aptly-titled debut release, Eclecticism, with plenty of rhythm and exoticism. After an interlude-like opening track called “Waiting,” the group rolls into “Drinks @ 8 (Words),” a track that truly sets the mind to the early War days with sharp, clear instruments singing out with individualism. That’s followed by a really striking bluesy, N’Orleans-flavored version of Nat Adderly’s “Hummin’” where the trumpet does the hummin’, and the bass does some serious walkin’. Sax action carries the hook and carries it well. Gotta love it. The album is chock full of solid examples of eclecticism, and you can just sense that this group obviously started out with that very concept in mind before settling down to craft this appealing little gem. Heavy on horns and melody, each tune carries evidence of having been carefully and meticulously dissected and manipulated until perfection was realized as much as the members wanted. Tunes like the cleverly titled “Mitch Better Have My Bunny” are for true fusion jazz aficionados, as the bass, keys, and drums work off each other in a sweet time-rich dance so well choreographed that it’s almost sinful, as the sax tosses off some tight runs to spice up everything just right. The very same thing can be said for the nice cover of Lonny Liston Smith’s “Expansions,” which features some smooth vocals, as well as cool flute. Bassist Ron Holmes’ own “Slap That Thang” slaps it thick and funky with plenty of horn help. This is a great debut effort by a group of guys determined to make a lasting impression as bonafide jazz musicians with eclectic tastes and talents. Mission accomplished. – Ronald Jackson, The Smooth Jazz Ride
fo/mo/deep – A Beautiful Bang, May 21, 2012 : A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing a very eclectic mix of jazz, funk, and world jams from a group called fo/mo/deep in its debut release appropriately titled Eclecticism. It was packed with body and powerful grooves that made this sophomore release, A Beautiful Bang, almost inevitable. Full of the same style of smooth yet funky jazz and even more world vibes with smart phrasing and timing, sharp keys playing, plenty of floor shakin’ bottom, and crisp sax work, this new project should be received as well, if not better, than its predecessor. Rockin’ the house from its funky, dance-me-all-over-the-joint lead track, “Jawjacka’,” this album promises right off the break to be an attention-getter, and it easily lives up to that promise. Following with a mellow, cool, and very melodic blues number titled “Martini Blues,” it’s obvious that the diversity that lived and breathed so well in the group’s debut album also does so here in very refreshing fashion. The album’s funk element is clear with tracks like the previously mentioned lead track, as well as “Mama Said, Mama Said” and the spoken-word Afro-beat classic by Fela Kuti titled “Gentleman,” which could easily be the highlight of this album because of its original passion and story. Not to be outdone, the appearance of the blues on tracks like the previously mentioned “Martini Blues” and “My Baby Girl’s Gots the Blues, Biues” is wonderfully potent. The album shows off that wondrous balance that the group displayed on its debut. Tracks like “Da Ba Di Do (Sonrisa de Zoe)” (with its cool timing and exotic backing vocals), the title track, Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” “Wanting,” the marvelous cover of Coltrane’s “Naima,” “Plethora of Pleasant Thoughts” and the beautiful “The Road,” all seduce and persuade with such magnificent ease. The project clearly spans the diversity of music from Brazilian to African-influenced to reggae to straight-ahead to neo-soul to a good ol’ jazzy romance track infused with R&B. This is, simply put, good music played by musicians who know and appreciate good music…period. Kudos to fo/mo/deep for a job very well done. – Ronald Jackson, The Smooth Jazz Ride
Written by Randall Parrish, Jazz Review - Soul / Funk Jazz - CD Reviews Eclecticism by fo/mo/deep
Eclecticism – Drawing from a plethora of grooves/styles from around the world. The above definition of the title of the first release from fo/mo/deep is provided on the back cover of the group’s new CD. Also included on the CD cover is a self-characterization by fo/mo/deep that reads “An Eclectic Groove Oriented – Funky Jazz Collective.” That assessment is concise and sums up their mission astutely. fo/mo/deep is a vibrant jazz collective which utilizes their dynamic rhythm section to keep the heat turned up to maximum fervor throughout. They flourish equally well on a couple original compositions as well as select choices for cover selections. Andre Scott, a skilled and powerful drummer, helps force the robust rhythms forward with potent brawn and committed vigor. On bass, Ron “FatKat” Holmes Jr. is also a stellar contributor, exceptionally adept at using his instrument to help buttress a beefy foundation as well as stepping to the forefront to bravely scout the way. Kenneth “Pounce” Pouncy on percussion completes this expert rhythm trifecta. An example of the groove oriented funk found on Eclecticism is provided right out of the gate on “Drinks@8.” Kevin Jones plays energetic keyboard streams that serve as an appendage to a spirited dialogue between the trombone of N. Michael Goecke and the tenor saxophone yielded by Keith Newton. The solid, mid-tempo rhythm groove on this one is pure delight and serves as an example of how a top-grade rhythm section meshes together via a scheme of ultra-tight cohesiveness to function faultlessly. The slower tempo on Nat Adderley’s “Hummin’” allows Goecke an opportunity to make a tart sassy trombone statement and Ron Holmes, Jr. to impressively demonstrate his stand-up bass chops. “Kiggundu’s Bazaar” embraces the atmosphere of a bustling African bazaar with the horn section trumpeting with elephant-like calls and emulating vendors hawking their wares. The bouncy keyboards of Kevin Jones provide added seasoning, as do the various background clamoring effects supplied by Darrell Jones. Yet again, the rhythm teamwork shines with added backing from Ron Hope on congas, all contributing to give the song a strong sense of adventure. A cover of ex-Miles Davis member Lonnie Liston Smith’s “Expansions” appears first with a vocal that is mutually sung and sung-spoken and espouses the need for peace on Earth with the expansion advocated taking place inside one’s mind. The philosophy declared on this 70s song that if you expand your mind to the acceptance of love of all mankind your heart will surely follow remains relevant today. The song begins with a bass solo, which is soon joined by rapid-fire drumming, flashy flute fireworks and impressive displays on organ. The quickened pace on the instrumental rendition of “Expansions” that follows later on the disc allows multiple members of the fo/mo/deep ensemble to show off their musical savoir faire with abundant soloing as well as en masse execution. Another successful cover appears with Charlie Hunter’s “Mitch Betta’ Have My Bunny.” The ultra-funky Ron Holmes, Jr. penned “Slap That Thang,” features a first-rate rhythm melody with flanking support coming from guitar, saxophone and trombone. It cooks at a slow boil, simmering with horn flavored spice that satisfies totally. “Slap That Thang” assuredly has to be one of their premier showcases when it is presented in concert.
The final two songs are performed live, exhibiting the power and excitement that this ensemble can muster away from the recording studio and in front of an audience. The venue for this enthused performance was the 2010 Columbus Arts Festival. “Giant FONKY Steps” is needless to say a respectful tribute to John Coltrane’s standard “Giant Steps,” a tune long used by jazz musicians to display their skills at improvisation. Improvising is one of fo/mo/deep’s foremost gifts. Jones’s keyboards take on some of the characteristics of a melodica, Newton’s sax-work is inspired, and the entire group takes pleasure in providing a fun-laced musical history lesson. The group’s live take on Hunter’s “Mitch” outshines their previous offering of the tune, due to the increased spontaneous flow. Guided by “Fatkat,” the group wails away with a passion and technical expertise that is exceptional. The auspicious debut of fo/mo/deep is exhilarating music. Eclecticism whets the appetite for more, much more. As the legendary great Miles Davis once said “jazz music has to have that thing.” I believe that Miles would agree: Eclecticism has it.
fo/mo/deep – A Beautiful Bang (2012) - Columbus, Ohio’s fo/mo/deep calls themselves an “Eclectic Groove Oriented – Funky Jazz Collective,” and it’s truth in advertising. Comprised of Ron “FatKat” Holmes (electric bass), Kevin Jones (keys), André Scott (drums), Keith Newton (saxes, flute) and Kenneth “Pounce” Pouncey (percussion), fo/mo/deep hits a sweet spot where the funk is not too hard or too smooth, it works for whatever kind of groove listening mood you’re in. That comes from a genuine fealty to their 70s forbears such as the Crusaders, Grover Washington, George Benson, Lonnie Liston Smith and The Headhunters. Holmes leads the band without having to play “lead bass” all the time. His lines are so fat, fluid and dead-on, they stand at the center of everything else swirling around each tune. Newton, who’s expressive sax style approximate David Sanborn’s shares most of the lead duties with Jones, who sticks with the vintage sounds of organ, electric piano and piano. Members of the band, mostly Holmes, write most of their own material for this album, and each song deliver the grooves in an urbane, tight fashion, and mixes up the tempos to keep it interesting. There’s the menacing bass riff that powers “Jawjacka’,” the syncopated funk of “Mama Said’ Mama Said'” and even a beguiling midtempo ballad with “The Wanting” that’s so lyrical it practically begs for lyrics. While the originals faithfully conjure up the spirit of old school funk jazz, it’s their covers of jazz classics that respect the transcendental melodies. The purists who might scoff at the thought of applying a modern groove to these songs would miss the point: these guys don’t mess the basic harmonics of the songs and give listeners an attractive bridge to cross over where the rich catalogs of Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, John Coltrane and other jazz great await. Coltrane’s “Naima,” in fact, is given the same, spare sax/piano arrangement of the original, but still fits in with the program of the rest of the album, because it’s such a soulful tune. They also plucked a forgotten Hutcherson gem “Montara,” removed the Latin beat from underneath it and slid in this crisp, pulsating rhythm in its place. fo/mo/deep branches out from funk-jazz in another way, by presenting music that were offshoots from funk and jazz, like afrobeat and reggae. The former gets represented on the original “A Beautiful Bang” and again on Fela Kuti’s “Gentleman,” where scathing commentary on the Westernization of Africans in their homeland is inspired by the original. Hubbard’s “Red Clay” (video of live performance above) gets a stellar reggae treatment, with Newton’s sax jammin’ non-stop from the chorus to the long bridge, followed by Jones’ intense organ ruminations. “Da Ba Di Do (Sonrisa De Zoe)” is a joyful, riff-based Brazilian funk excursion, led off by Holmes’ fanciful, avant-garde bass bit. All of these stylistic jaunts serve to remind that funk and jazz’s influenced have stretched far and deep beyond America. fo/mo/deep also serves to remind us that, yes, there are still a few bands out there making that soul-soothing, butt-swaying, feel-good blend of jazz and funk. And at least one of them, out of the middle of Ohio, is doing it about as well as it can be done. - S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews
Fo/mo/deep – Eclecticism: When you live in Columbus, Ohio and regularly attend concerts in and around that city, you certainly have the opportunity for a close encounter of the third kind, a musical one. I speak about fo/mo/deep, what stands according of the band’s website for an eclectic groove oriented-funky jazz collective. Fo/mo/deep are Ron “FatKat” Holmes. Jr (bass), Kenneth “Pounce” Pouncey (percussion), Keith Newton (sax, flute), N. Michael Goecke (trombone), Andre Scott (drums), and Kevin Jones (Keys). For those, who haven’t listen to their music yet, we have good news. The group has just released their debut album Eclecticism. Now, what’s that? According to Wikipedia Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases. Now, are we wiser? No! Let’s ask the bandleader. Ron explains: “Eclecticism in music draws from a plethora of grooves/styles from around the world.” In short we can await a diversity of styles. The attentive listener is first confronted with the intro Waiting. Someone opened the micro, while the crowd was waiting for the start. Ok, I am curious. Drinks@8(Words), that are dynamic horns, driving drums, a propulsive bass and keys adjustment. Enjoy Michael Goecke's elusive trombone solo followed by Keith Newton's blow of heart on sax. Now Kevin starts on piano his furious excursion. Great interaction between all musicians building their string of tones. What can a live band cover at its best? A tune from a live album. It's Fo/Mo/Deep's treat of Nathaniel Adderley's Hummin' taken from Cannonball Adderley's album Country Preacher (1969). This is one for Michael's trombone and Ron's bass. Now the trip goes to Africa. Kiggundu's Bazaar has much of onomatopoeia, the horns are bursting out like a stampede of elephants, but there is also oriental atmosphere. Chaos yes, but boxed or as Ron says: "You cannot have groove without pocket." Mitch Betta Have My Bunny is a superb track from Charlie Hunter's jamming album Songs from the Analog Playground (2001). As Mark Corroto wrote in his review: "There are five tracks of Hunter's quartet laying out jam-band fare that begs to be heard live." And Ron does us the favor to add the live version of the tune on this album too. There is much more to discover on this surprising album. For example two fantastic renditions (vocal and instrumental) of Lonnie Liston Smith's Expansions(1975). Lonnie Liston Smith is well known for embracing fusion, crossover, soul and funk with his 1970's band the Cosmic Echoes. This is a reminiscence to the flower power generation. Especially to mention is Keith Newton's outstanding flute performance. According to his friends Ron Holmes is a bass junkie performing in the past like Stanley Clarke on ecstasy. So the title Slap that Thang sounds like a piece written by a bass player for a bass player. But Fo/mo/deep is a collective and the members are acting as band. Also exquisite is the cover of John Coltrane's piece Giant Steps (1960). Keyboardist Kevin Jones' approach is a little daring, because he alienated the sound of keyboard perhaps to build a bridge to Keith Newton's adventurous sax play. Ok, they called the tune Giant Fonky Steps and live performance has always its own twist. With Eclecticism will fo/mo/deep certainly rise a lot of attention in the jazz community. This band has character and diversity. High recommendable in particular for live events! - Hans-Bernd Hülsmann
fo/mo/deep – Eclecticism POSTED BY FUNKATOP ON AUGUST - 18 - 2011: We have to be fair about this release when it comes to putting it up against the Funk-o-Meter because we reached out to fo/mo/deep to request their CD for review based on a review done by ReverbNation that gave it high funk marks. Any time that we hear someone label something as highly funky, we have to check it out ourselves and give it the good old fashioned Funk litmus test. The CD entitled Eclecticism is instrumental with exception to the track entitled Expansions. However, there really is little need for vocals on this album since the instrumentation should be the primary focus here. There are no fast moving parts or sleepy grooves here since all of the tracks are presented in a mid-tempo fashion that could probably be sewn together to create a tapestry of similar BPM’s. Every song is designed to be enjoyed and retrospected in a perfect middle ground. From unusual busy bass lines and snappy drums to the bleeding horns throughout, there’s nothing underwhelming in the delivery and every note seems to have purpose. Lest we forget the quirky song titles such as Kiggundu’s Bazaar and Mitch Betta Have My Bunny that beg for you to listen just to see what could warrant such a labeling. The main misinterpretation with pigeonholing fo/mo/deep into the funk corner, as with most bands of this caliber, is that the music comes across as much more freeform funk when heard live than what gets captured on recordings. This is the same anomaly that has plagued bands like Tower Of Power, Deep Banana Blackout, and Robert Randolph for years. See them live and you’re convinced that they’re the funkiest band you’ve ever seen. Buy the CD and you’re listening to what seems like loose fitting jazz standards. But fo/mo/deep manages to keep their funk edge on the recordings which is a feat in itself that hasn’t been accurately accomplished Since Headhunters. Although, fo/mo/deep thought enough about this possibility to have graced the CD with two live closing tracks including Giant FONKY Steps and the aforementioned Mitch Better Have My Bunny. To fo/mo/deep‘s credit, this album is very clean and is well crafted jazz musicianship at its best. The Ohio collective has a very eclectic group of musicians (hence the album name), but all are very well established in the Ohio jazz community and their brotherhood is evident on this recording. There isn’t a weak link in this group. All of the full blown members break out their talents on their respective instruments such as mixing up bass styles (fretted, stand up, 6 strings), horns (tenor, alto & flute), pianos (electric, grand and organ), drums and percussion (drums, African & Indian percussion loops & standard percussion). The bass riffs are fast and tight, the drums are clean and in the pocket, the horns take advantage of every possible melody opportunity they can within arrangements, the keys are tickled and woven throughout, and the percussion is placed with the perfect spatial conservatism to not be over-the-top or annoying. All in all, a very relaxing album that creates soft infusions of jazz and funk melded very well for background driving music, work music, or just plain headphone nirvana. While we would love to give it a perfect 5 out of 5, it doesn’t meet the full blown funk effect, so we’re giving it a 4 out of 5. Not because it doesn’t deserve a perfect score for its production prowess and excellent musicianship, but because we have to judge under the guise of who we are here as Funkatopians. If we weren’t behind this wall, it would definitely take home the prize of a perfect score. If you’re looking for a full blown bass heavy funk fix, this isn’t it. But if your love of funk is more on the fence with acid jazz, this would well be worth a purchase. as reviewed by Mr. Christopher, Funkatopia
Music in our times is often described with a certain kind of label like Jazz, Rock, Fusion etc.. But the musical concept of fo/mo/deep is different from that. They don't seem to care for labels; they put different styles together, just as they like it. The result can -once again- be enjoyed on their new record The Groovy Goodness. The Groovy Goodness takes the listener on a journey into the groovy and funky sounds of the seventies and the eighties of the last century. Musical eclecticism is often used as a negative term, just to describe music, which contains nothing unique. But The Groovy Goodness shows, that 'eclecticism' can also be understood as 'music without boundaries'. The first track 1974 by Finnish drummer Teppo Mäkynen and Jukka Escola starts with a quiet Fender Rhodes Piano Intro, leading into a grooving saxophone theme. Block Party by saxophonist Dr. Keith Newton is a cool up-beat number, resembling the early 'Spyro Gyra'. Groidology by Peven Everett, the longest track on the album, features N. Michael Goecke with an extended Trombone-solo and Kevin Jones on keyboards followed by Peach Cobbler by bassist and bandleader Ron Fatkat Holmes, a grooving track in a moderate tempo. Then we take a little rest. With As She Walked Away, a medium ballad, again written by Ron Fatkat Holmes and introduced by a soft and smooth piano-passage, played by Joshua Boyd, who also plays a quiet piano-solo on this track. After that little relaxation we move on with the up-tempo That Song (This Love) by Dr. Keath Newton, the most jazzy song on the Album. The classical fusion number The Price of Suga' by Ron Fatkat Holmes is introduced by an elegiac Saxophone-passage (You Can Love Me Twice the Next Time).This song brings the listener back to the great times of Joe Zawinul and Weather Report. The album peacefully ends with the touching solo piano piece Chamsa played by Joshua Boyd as a tribute to Israeli Jazz Pianist Shimrit Shoshan who died 2012 at the age of only 29. The Groovy Goodness is an entertaining mixture of the funky and groovy music of the 70ties and 80ties. The album shows that eclecticism can sound unique, when the right musicians are at work. - © Markus Michel 2014 , Smooth Jazz Daily
The Jazz-funk of fo/mo/deep in The Groovy Goodness
Recorded during the first half of 2014, the new work fo / mo / deep presents all his musicality and a contemporary touch. With 10 tracks written with a lot of creativity and innovation in the melodies. When listening to The Groovy Goodness seems that musicians are illuminated by symmetry and has the wow factor in each composition.
It has a tap dance Peach Cobbler (lane 4). At the same time sounds elegant, without losing the essence and eclecticism. Have the composition of opening 1974 has a swing, a look into the past, from the times of jazz-funk movement with an engaging contemporary feel. For those who appreciate the touches of bass, groove, it is highly recommended listen That Song (This Love) – track 7.
When listening to The Groovy Goodness, interpretations of musicians are illuminated by the symmetry of each touch. Listening to the new CD of the group is different, enjoy an elegant work of musicians who carry the essence of the jazz-funk of the 1970s, but with the look for the eclecticism and the mixing of languages.http://pauliceiadojazz.com.br/?p=21028
Mike Stratton, Lansing Jazz Festival 2012: The crowd was eating you guys up. I thought it was very cool: rare to see such good players who are also entertainers. Great show.
Joe Mallory, Project ArtReach (Jazz in the Park Festival): "I thank you sincerely for all you have done to help our organization and the amazing performance fo/mo/deep gave for 2 hours at our 10th Anniversary! ……you guys are Gold in my book! Outstanding Job…"
Project Artreach, (Jazz in the Park Festival): "Good morning, Ron! You guys were fantastic! I had the opportunity to hear some of your set – in between running around on the cart. However, the comments from the crowd were extremely positive. Thank you again for being so gracious with your support of Project ArtReach; ya’ll ROCK!"
Gail Burkholder, (Comfest): "As someone who’s seen them from their first show on, I highly recommend this CD. I’ve used their music as a bed when hosting Jazz Sunday on WCBE and headlined them on the Jazz Stage at Comfest. As someone with lots of choices of bands, I keep returning to fo/mo/deep when I need to get my groove on. Festival/club bookers, they will get your crowd dancing!"
Jay Snyder, (Riverfront Arts Festival): "Ron and the rest of Fo/Mo/Deep are as good as it gets. They know how to light an audience on fire, bringing a whole musical toolkit and the skills to fix your flats. They were regulars at the Riverfront Art Festival when I was there – just mention their name and people get excited around here. They have a well deserved reputation as Columbus’s preferred soundtrack. I hope I have the excuse to hire them again!”
Smooth Jazz Therapy, Denis Pool:…. “Those of you who enjoy your contemporary jazz on the dangerous side could do worse than to check out the CD Eclecticism from the interestingly named fo/mo/deep. This rhythmic roller coaster from a band who describes themselves as an eclectic, groove orientated and funky jazz collective has its share of outstanding tracks. Indeed original compositions by the bands leader and bass player Ron Holmes Jr. sit very tidily with material from Lonnie Liston Smith, Charlie Hunter, John Coltrane and Nat Adderley. As a consequence the entire collection drips with 70s style nostalgia but in doing so never sounds out of date……”
......"I'm still convinced that there were babies conceived during your Comfest gig. That was possibly the hottest set I've ever heard you play! Thank you so much for gracing our stage with your funk". - Gail Burkholder, Comfest 2014 Jazz Stage Manager
fo/mo/deep: The Groovy Goodness, By John Garratt 8 July 2014 - PopMatters Associate Music Editor: Over the course of their three albums together, Columbus, Ohio, jazz collective fo/mo/deep have drifted from a post-bop/funk hybrid to a more soulful brand of jazz. On The Groovy Goodness, they’ve traveled back in time to a period where fusion easily shared the airwaves with rock, pop and soul. The album even begins with a cover of Teppo Mäkynen’s “1974” (the composer’s birth year).
High points include the centerpiece jam on Peven Everett’s “Groidology” and bassist Ron Holmes’s wistful fusion-pop track “As She Walked Away”. Three of The Groovy Goodness‘s 10 tracks turn the spotlight to individual solos. Pianist Joshua Boyd styles “If We, Can Be…” as an intro to “As She Walked Away” and brings the album to an elegiac close with “Chamsa (Shimrit Shoshan tribute)”. Keith Newton’s 1:43 sax solo “You Can Love Me Twice the Next Time” is the stuff of rooftop soliloquies.
FO/MO/DEEP THE GROOVY GOODNESS - MUSIC REVIEW 03/13/2014: Like so many music enthusiasts I eagerly anticipate the arrival of new and refreshing sounds, especially by jazz artists. Perhaps more than anything, I’m truly enlightened by the symmetry, lyricism and hidden elements revealed through the canvas of these recordings. With that said Columbus, OH native composer/bassist Ron “FatKat” Holmes returns with his band fo/mo/deep to enhance their distinctive mark on another riveting contemporary jazz offering titled “theGroovyGoodness.” From the outset, their enticing brand of jazz artfully envelopes a gumbo of mesmerizing flavors shaped with appetizing melodies are neatly crafted on the opening piece aptly titled “1974.” This spunky gem is a terrific way to jump-start a seamless expedition of attractive tunes that’s destined to keep contemporary jazz lovers attention from start to finish. For a variety of reasons I become overjoyed when I hear groups like fo/mo/deep, beginning with the obvious writing and playing original material. Of course, equally as important the contributions here are exclusively by band members is a definite plus. At third spot, the inviting keyboard work of Kevin Jones accentuates the melody with a Sly Stone riff at the intro on the tantalizing yet pulsating melodies underscored in the belly of “Groidology.” Without question, this tune harbors all the tangible ingredients of engaging solos and unyielding interplay executed with precision. At this point, featured soloist/trombonist N. Michael Goecke accents this song brilliantly to assure that head-bopping jazz aficionados return again and again for more. The flow of the music resonates even deeper in volume with the raw synergy of “Peach Cobbler,” this piece groans with a passion any southern born soul is familiar with this style and inescapable sound. Meanwhile reedman Dr. Keith Newton pours his heart and soul in the chasm of “She Walked Away,” although this piece renders the stimulating heartfelt sentiments of soul music you’ll immediately embrace the intimacy of this eclectic vibe as they exchange ideas in this body of music. From beginning to the end you’ll discover how the title “theGroovyGoodness” captures the essence of their imaginative eclecticism through the conduit of the tasty tunes like “The Price of Suga.” In fact, this fusion inspired gem is shaped by their buoyant personality reinforces why I love to listen to jazz. In retrospect, as I listen to their music I find they’re simply a group of arduous musicians pursuing the ultimate dream of enjoying life playing and recording music they decisively love to perform together as a unit is undeniably a dream fulfilled. - Reviewed by Rob Young -|- The Vertical Spin -|- Flux Media
fo/mo/deep – TheGroovyGoodness by ANDREW PATTON, Jazz Columbus - MAY 27, 2014: Local groove explorers fo/mo/deep will officially release their 3rd album, TheGroovyGoodness, on June 3rd. The band’s core lineup has changed since 2012’s A Beautiful Bang, as Joshua Boyd is their new keyboardist and plays on most of the new album. The personnel change does not seem to have affected the band’s mission much, though, as the album reveals continued experiments in the jazz, funk, world, and fusion realms. The seven original compositions here show growth in the band’s songwriting, especially the funky ode to a soulful dessert, “Peach Cobbler,” written by bassist/bandleader Ron “Fatkat” Holmes, and the buoyant contemporary tune “That Song (This Love),” written by saxophonist Dr. Keith Newton. Of course, the album also continues the band’s custom of featuring a strong selection of covers, though they dug deeper for the tunes this time around. “Groidology,” written by Peven Everett and recorded by bassist Curtis Lundy, is an unsung groove classic that I fell in love with when I first heard fo/mo/deep play it in November. The version here cuts a bit of the fluff from the original while maintaining the hypnotic groove and featuring great solos, including one from guest trombonist Michael Goecke. The album concludes with “Chamsa,” a touching Boyd solo piano tribute to Israeli pianist Shimrit Shoshan, who tragically died in 2012 at the age of 29.TheGroovyGoodness sounds to me like fo/mo/deep’s best album so far, a well-rounded collection of varied jazz grooves. The band is celebrating the release and Holmes’ birthday with a free listening party at Brothers Drake on Friday, May 30th, from 7 to 8:30pm. You will be able to hear selections from the new album and the previous albums, and CDs will be available for purchase. Visit the band’s website for more details and online ordering information.
fo/mo/deep, The Groovy Goodness Reviewed by Joe Caroselli, Jazz Monthly: Self-descriptions are not always accurate, because you can’t really see yourself as others do. Music makers “fo/mo/deep” describe themselves as “an eclectic groove oriented- funky jazz collective.” How fitting their description of what they are is! The definition of “eclectic” is “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad range of sources.” These extremely talented musicians are indeed eclectic, but they are eclectic …with a capital E! I was very excited when I heard that fo/mo/deepwas releasing its third CD, and I am even more excited now that I have listened, and been absolutely swept away by the shear artistry of their new project “The GroovyGoodness.” The brilliant producer/bassist/composer Ron “FatKat” Holmes and his masterful crew really know how to make us get to our inner emotions with “The GroovyGoodness.” The very first track,“1974” with its pulsating Latin percussive groove, immediately pulls us listeners in. “Listeners” did I say? It’s more like we are active participants enjoying the musical gifts offered to us by the amazingfo/mo/deep! I dare you not to be moved emotionally listening to any of the tracks on “The GroovyGoodness.” “Block Party” pushes a funky, Jazz, half-time shuffle feel to a whole new level! “Groidology”starts with a very hip, edgy syncopated piano which sets the tone perfectly for an erupting volcano of funk/bop! Each composition is better than the next. I can’t really say which is my favorite. When I listened to “As She Walked Away” I could actually see in my mind’s eye the lady about whom fo/mo/deep was playing. I saw her… withdrawing… fading away. It was very personal to me, which I’m sure is what fo/mo/deep wanted it to be for me and for everyone--- personal. To be able to make me (and I’m sure many others) feel that, and without lyrics, says an awful lot about the workmanship of the composition, and the virtuosity and sensitivity of the group. The last cut on this magnificent CD is called “Chamsa, a tribute to Shimrit Shoshan.” It is truly a haunting, poignant, impressively beautiful piano tone poem. It is truly a lovely “tribute.” When you get the CD, look closely at its imaginative cover which was designed by Ron “FatKat” Holmes and Sandra Holmes. You will see an unrestrained collection of free-flowing words which describes emotions, feelings, suggestions, and just overall… many cool, inspiring, highly spirited words! These words will give you just a little hint of what’s inside the package! The only problem with “The GroovyGoodness” is that it’s so superb that I don’t know how the group can possibly top this latest project in the future; but then again, that is what I said after hearing fo/mo/deep’ssecond CD! By the way, that’s a great “problem” to have, right? - Joe Caroselli
fo/mo/deep – The Groovy Goodness, May 28, 2014: The contemporary jazz/jazz fusion band fo/mo/deep has consistently offered delightfully refreshing grooves since its debut release Eclecticism. Always charging forward with new ideas that manifest themselves in catchy runs, timing, hooks, and melodies, the band offers its new release The Groovy Goodness. Bright with great sax and keys work, solid bass lines, and cool rhythms, The Groovy Goodness captures (among other things) the fusion side of the band clearly. If you’re into that groove that never abandons the jazz signature but keeps the dance element alive and kickin’, this may be the one you’ve been seeking. Tracks like the lead track “1974” and the almost 9-minute “Groidology” grab you from the first notes with that jazzy fusion vibe, while tracks like “Block Party” and “That Song (This Love)” give you the strong bottom-heavy dance groove set in the fabric of good unpretentious jazz. Of course, this would not be fo/mo/deep if you didn’t get your share of good old-fashioned down and dirty funk – as found in “Peach Cobbler”– comfortably wrapped in the goodness of this kind of cool jazz. Another pleasantry is to catch bassist/founder Ron Holmes’ commanding runs on “The Price if Suga’,” a groove that should be taught in workshops everywhere for those trying to tie groove into tasteful contemporary jazz. If you are familiar with the distinctive fo/mo/deep style – or even if you’re not — there’s a lot to enjoy here, as is usually the case with the band. The signature diversity or eclecticism of their music, as their debut so proudly displayed, continues to reign supreme in their funky, cool, classy, and sophisticated sound. In a word, grown folks’ music. Get lost in it. – Ronald Jackson, The Smooth Jazz Ride
John Petric of The Other Paper (Columbus, Ohio) recently described his experience in sampling the group live as a ” very good soul-funk-jazz band that had the crowd in the palm of its collective hand”. Adding, “the group has managed to do something that’s actually quite difficult for local, national or international talent, and that’s to go into a studio and transfer its live charisma onto a disc: Eclecticism.”
fo/mo/deep - A BEAUTIFUL BANG – Rhmedia LLC - Fo/Mo/Deep, 2012 - Review - Posted by Rob Young : If you haven’t heard, the word is out Columbus, OH native bassist and composer Ron “FatKat” Holmes the regional ambassador of eclectic grooves, soul and funk jazz is back to serve up another tasty dish in the sphere of eclecticism titled “A Beautiful Bang.” With great anticipation, I’m sure fans of fo/ mo/deep the regions heavy weight champ of jazz and funk have waited patiently and now they’re ready to celebrate the group’s upcoming sophomore release! “A Beautiful Bang” embodies an assorted boutique of thirteen jams for the discerning ears of contemporary, urban, soul and smooth jazz lovers to taste, stir and savor with each spin. Out of the box, the groove begins with a tune pen by the dynamic duo Holmes and Newton on the uniquely titled “Jawjacka’.” This chart poppin’ groove opens with funky bass licks supplied by the versatile Ron Holmes, accompanied by the ensemble they pound away relentlessly too reinforce the upbeat rhythms accentuate their accessible and distinct sound. Arguably funk wannabees have masqueraded around the funk jazz idiom for years impersonating, mirroring, and emulating this compulsive sound. However, fo/mo/deep meets and surpasses the criteria with their original and consistent voice. Once again, this fearless quintet delivers the goods with the impeccable “Martini Blues,” this piece is co-authored by the band compliments their collective voice and style displays their versatility. Saxophonist and flutist Keith Newton doesn’t hesitate, his powerful and inviting tonality burns fiercely and soulfully on “Montara.” The veteran Newton leaves just enough wiggle room for the rest of guys to inject their peerless stamina into this piece. The groovy “Mama Said’ Mama Said’ chants with unwavering funk, attitude and soul manifests with a sonically tight and rhythmic pulse this is another duo-collaboration pen by Holmes and Newton. These guys no doubt came to play and effortlessly keep the music undeniably fresh. Their musicality is emphasized flawlessly on the infectious “Da Ba Di Do (Sonrisa de Zoe)” which entails the voicing’s of African and Caribbean rhythms. Diversity is the key component here. Their skills are demonstrated on the festive title track “A Beautiful Bang,” this gem compliments the previous piece harmonically and rhythmically. The surprise entry in this collective is Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” Holmes and company groove swelters in the body of this jam, they brilliantly interconnect reggae beats to their unapologetic jazz nuances exceeded my expectation. The dimensions of soul and jazz join forces to unmask their continual groove on “The Wanting” pen by Holmes. Quirky yet funky beats methodically rumble through the pulse of “Gentleman,” this joint reminds me of a seventies Blaxploitation movie soundtrack. Pen by Fela Kuti this groove is absolutely hip, and fresh. It’s accented with lyrically hypnotizing pitch with shades of Gil-Scott Heron and rap agents The Last Poets are underlined by poetic expressions are revealed with a welcome timbre through the conduit of spoken word absolutely made my day. The next selection, “My Baby Gots the Blues, Blues” was written by Holmes. It transcends smoothly into Trane’s “Naima” where Newton and keyboardist Kevin Jones are featured duo breathe fresh life into this classic. Closings this engaging template are two distinctive compositions, the spicy Latin rhythms of “A Plethora of Pleasant Thoughts” appears and reveals the enchanting hymns exalted on “The Road” both pen by Ron Holmes coexist brilliantly to incorporate diverse and uncommon signatures on this recording. Depends on your favorite genre you may not familiar with fo/mo/deep. Nonetheless, their new album “A Beautiful Bang” has made a believer out me and gained a new fan. With this offering the ensemble strategically widen their landscape and called music enthusiast to the round table to engage themselves in a unique blend of eclectic grooves, jazz, funk, and soul cultivated by seasoned players that simply love to play, write and record relevant music with enthusiasm. - by Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Review