Under The Lake – Old Friends, New Grooves

173001432_135169451947488_3670372575155240217_nUnder The Lake is a project by Jayson Tipp (keyboardist, songwriter and producer). The debut album was Dive In (1993), followed by Up For Air (1995), People Together (2007) and Jazz, Groove & Attitude (2018).

Hot off the success of their 2020 Smoothjazz.com Top 100 release “Your Horizon Too”, Under The Lake is releasing a collection of 11 all-new, original tracks entitled “Old Friends, New Grooves” dropping July 2 on the Mind In Overdrive label. Bassist Nathan Brown, drummer Richard Sellers, guitarist Patrick Yandall and sax player Quintin Gerard W. join keyboardist / composer Jayson Tipp again for this effort. Last March the funk-jazz crew released their 5th album and were readying for promotions and touring. Then the COVID 19 shutdown happened.

For bandleader Tipp, the shutdown began on March 12, 2020 after 9 months of flying across the country on a weekly basis with a “7 AM Flight Home” from Los Angeles to Portland: “As is the case is occasionally when I have time alone to think, I had a musical idea; a portion of a melody line that came to me on that flight. I sang the line into the voice recorder on my phone. That weekend I pulled up the recording, transcribed and then recorded a brief version of the melody. That melody later became the song named for the flight.”

As with other groups, Under The Lake started working on live in-studio videos despite being in different cities across the country. In the midst of this effort one of Under The Lake’s band members contracted COVID. After several weeks, and a healthy recovery, the band completed two video singles (“Your Horizon Too” and “Bridgetown”) but soon realized they had time on their hands and musical stories to tell. Though it’s the band’s 6th release and was written and recorded during the midst of a global pandemic, ”Old Friends, New Grooves” offers an air of optimism- something new, different, and fresh with creative and eclectic performances.

The album kicks off with “7AM Flight Home”, an upbeat, syncopated track marked by the interplay of guitar and saxophone and featuring an almost haunting solo by bassist Nathan Brown. The journey continues to document the 2020 COVID experience with “Whatever You Wish For”, a mellow, groove-driven track with clear soul references. That
brings us to the “Last Day of March” with a bouncy, rubbery bass line below a Bob James-influenced electric piano melody. “Can’t Believe It’s True” takes you on a ride led by Patrick Yandall’s clean guitar lines. If you listen carefully you’ll hear where the lyrics “Have I Told You?” might have been sung over the chorus of this upbeat tune punctuated by percussion. “Lazy Saturday” is the right track for just hanging out moving from funky keyboards to soulful guitar and saxophone passages. “Around The Block” supports unison sax and guitar melodies with syncopated rhythms and a solid Hammond B3 organ vibe bringing us back home in time for “Another Mothers Day”, a band favorite that combines 6/8 timing and floating soprano saxophone. With those diversions out of the way, we’re ready “When Autumn Comes” to drop an acoustic guitar-driven soundtrack- you can almost hear the rain. A testament to the diversity of the ideas and performances on this album “Silver Lining” lays down a Philly soul-influenced 6/8 memory of good things coming from bad. The collection culminates with the title track “Old Friends, New Grooves” acknowledging this unit’s staying power across the years and music.

Under The Lake’s roots date back to San Diego 1992 when Tipp formed the band. Their debut recording, “Dive In,” dropped the following year and “Up For Air” came out in 1995. Radio airplay, fervent reviews and major festival and club dates put Under The Lake on the national map. But then real life and parenthood set in and Tipp found it difficult to keep the unit together. After a decade of dormancy, they reunited to record their third album, 2007’s “People Together.” Again, the members drifted apart and Tipp didn’t record as Under The Lake until the 2018 release “Jazz, Groove & Attitude,” using entirely new personnel. Released in 2020, “Your Horizon Too” reunited the core members of the group from the past 20 years and added guitarist Patrick Yandall. That same crew worked together to complete the new album.

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