Groove Collective: People People Music Music

Groove Collective can’t decide if it wants to play funk, Latin or jazz on its first album in five years. While the band has always flitted between styles, its strength isn’t jazz, it’s funk. Too much of People People Music Music attempts to be the former rather than the latter, and consequently the CD sounds tepid.

“Eat No Space” is an ambient smooth-jazz ballad. “Tito” is dedicated to Puente, but it’s a half-hearted tune that never picks up momentum. Herbie Hancock’s “Speak Like a Child” is all ambiance, not art.

The best tune, by far, is “DFU,” where Groove Collective lives up to its name and plays to its strength as a smoking funk band. Guest Fred Wesley (trombone) and Liberty Ellman (guitar) help give the cut the sort of pepper-hot spirit that’s missing from the rest of the disc.