Groove Alchemy the CD is only one part of Groove Alchemy, the larger project that comes with a DVD and instructional book. The project takes drummers and those interested in funk drumming inside Stanton Moore’s process of developing grooves, and the CD presents those grooves in action. The drummers who infuenced him the most are James Brown drummers Jabo Starks and Clyde Stubblefeld, and the Meters’ Zigaboo Modeliste; not surprisingly, most of the tracks on Groove Alchemy draw from Brown and the Meters’ traditions.
The relative lack of concept means that there’s not a lot of news on the album, but it’s also Moore, Robert Walter and Will Bernard at their most relaxed. As a result, it’s also Moore’s trio at its most straightforward and funky. The closest thing to a curveball is a dirge-like version of George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” led by Walter’s organ. Walter switches to the piano for a version of James Booker’s “Keep on Gwine,” but the track’s more about Moore’s loping version of a second line groove than about Walter’s dexterity.
Those tracks are the exceptions, though. Groove Alchemy’s funky, and because it’s part of an educational project, it’s not showy. Instead, the trio is modeling how effortless a well-played groove can sound and how effective it can be with sympathetic players.