Winner of the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Media, 2019


Headquarters of Groove

Music Spoken Here presents Headquarters of Groove, The Marr’s Bar, Worcester, 16/03/2024.

by Ian Mann

March 19, 2024


"A contender for the top spot of Music Spoken Here nights!". Guest contributor Dave Fuller enjoys the 'Acid Jazz & Brazilian Funk Party Vibes' of this Midlands based septet.

‘A contender for the top spot of Music Spoken Here nights!’

Music Spoken Here presents Headquarters of Groove
The Marr’s Bar, Worcester
Saturday 16th March, 2024

Jodi Matthews – vocals, Roy Linton – keyboards, Andy Thomas – guitar, John Sanderson – tenor & soprano saxes, flute, Ted Woodley – bass, André Bayliss – drums, Mahendra Patel - percussion

In a trial expansion of their fortnightly live jazz, funk & soul club nights on Thursdays at The Marr’s Bar in Worcester, local promoter Music Spoken Here hosted their first Saturday night with the incredible West Midlands 7-piece Headquarters of Groove.

The band proved early on that they were more than up to the job of bringing the weekend party vibe to the place, as they kicked off the first set with ‘Love Is A Party’, a lively original with a real Brand New Heavies vibe to it. Relentless throughout this song André Bayliss and Mahendra Patel set the pace on drums and percussion, with Ted Woodley dropping a solid groove on the bass, while Andy Thomas and Roy Linton provided the chordal accompaniment to Jodi Matthews’ powerful vocals and a brief feature from John Sanderson on tenor sax.

We were then treated to a few covers, including a banging rendition of the 1991 Drizabone hit ‘Real Love’, ‘More For The Less’ by Mario Basanov and ‘Alright’ by Jamiroquai, before another original, and the first instrumental of the evening, the summery groove of ‘Hot Summer’ written by Linton, and featuring Sanderson, this time on flute, and Woodley on bass with Linton letting loose on the keys.

‘Bring Me Joy’, another of Linton’s originals, saw Matthews back with her superb vocals and Bayliss letting off a bit of steam behind the kit, joined enthusiastically by Patel on congas and some skronking sax from Sanderson.

Things calmed down a bit for ‘Stay’, another original with a bit of a Lisa Stansfield vibe to it, giving the band a bit of a breather and Sanderson an opportunity to add some smooth soprano sax.

The first set closed with ‘Andiamo’, the first song that the band wrote together, again featuring Sanderson on both tenor sax and flute.

The band returned to the stage after a well-earned break, opening the second set with The Brand New Heavies number ‘Stay This Way’ complete with appropriate stabbings of wah-wah from Thomas on guitar, with a brief segue into Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’ mid-song!

Two more gentle originals followed – a bossa-nova with the title ‘Waiting’ and ‘WTS’, another instrumental, this time a slower groove with a summery Roy Ayers feel to it.

I was delighted that the band included one of my favourite Incognito tunes, ‘Colibri’, next in the set, with its chronically funky bassline and an opportunity to feature Patel, Linton and Sanderson. I’d heard the band play it at one of their early rehearsals in 2022, but not live since.

This was followed by the jazz-funk tune ‘Noodle Soup’ by Four80East featuring first Thomas on guitar, followed by a busy solo from Linton on keys and Sanderson back on the flute.

Bayliss announced “Anything could happen during this next one” before launching into what, for me, was the highlight of the night as the band got real down and dirty with the insanely energetic ‘Wagwan’ by Skygaze that had Linton flailing around on the keys like a man possessed! Absolutely brilliant!

Keeping the party going, the astounded crowd then got involved with the Brazilian funk classic ‘Dear Limmertz’ from Azymuth, with Matthews leading the audience in an enthusiastic “way-o, way-ohhhh” chorus, before closing out the set with their final original ‘With The Sunshine’.

But we weren’t going to let them leave without an encore and they gladly obliged with the Ultra Naté dance hit ‘Free’.

Bar manager Liz Palmer followed up on Facebook on Sunday with ;
“Such a fantastic night! Oh lordy, lordy it was some tight musicianship complimented with some absolutely phenomenal vocals. I think this has to be a contender for the top spot of Music Spoken Here nights for me. I was blown away”

Music Spoken Here regular Tim Walton added;
“This was such an amazing evening, it really hit the spot! The band really connected with the audience. I’m still buzzing from it today!”

If you missed this gig, check out The Vault on the Music Spoken Here website for a video or two, coming this week.

DAVE FULLER (Instigator, Music Spoken Here)

Find out more:

blog comments powered by Disqus