Left Coast Live
Previewing the new Groove Diggers CD of jazz standards while clutching a cup of steaming coffee on a rain-soaked Sunday was truly therapeutic. Masterfully recorded at Chico’s Left Coast Pizza and mixed at Dale Price’s Electric Canyon Studios, Left Coast Live! transported this listener to exotic locations, melting away life’s stressors along the way. Each of the 10 tracks provides a distinctly unique groove, with each player contributing subtleties of blues, soul and fusion. The Groove Diggers is an instrumental quartet of Chico-area stalwarts: Larry Peterson on guitar, Jim Schmidt on keyboards, Richard Gibson on drums, and CN&R staffer Christine LaPado on upright bass. Peterson co-founded the ensemble in the mid-’90s; he, LaPado and Schmidt have been the core combo for six years. The CD includes two tips of the cap to 1950s bebop, with Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk” and Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa”; Luis Bonfa’s early bossa nova piece, “Black Orpheus;” and a 21st-century take on Fats Waller’s timeless “Honeysuckle Rose.” Two of the more commonly recognized songs are Santo and Johnny Farina’s 1959 bluesy surf instrumental hit “Sleepwalk” (with Peterson’s guitar summoning the spirit of Jeff Beck), and “Take the ‘A’ Train,” an ode to Harlem that became synonymous with Duke Ellington.