Under The Lake are a group of players who have consistently found just the right groove, in many different iterations, for almost 25 years. Their newest album, Jazz, Groove & Attitude—recorded at The Rye Room and set to be released on February 23—is no exception.
Led by keyboard player Jayson Tipp, the current lineup features David Evans on sax and John Moak on trombone along with a robust rhythm section showcasing Brian Foxworth on drums, Evan Mustard on guitar, and Kenny Franklin on bass.
“For the current sound there was an intention to pay homage to The Crusaders who had a trombone and tenor sax driving most of the melodies,” Tipp reflects. “Over the last few years I began to realize how much I was influenced by their music so I wanted to bring that to life. [Then], there are the performances themselves. That’s really a reflection of the musicians themselves... [their] performances are really bringing the material to life as I had heard it in my head.”
To compose the song “LJT,” Tipp drew inspiration from R&B and soul. “I was watching a documentary about civil rights and sports and was really inspired by the protest at the 1968 Olympics by Lee Evans, John Carlos and Tommie Smith,” he remembers. “It just seemed to click for me that the song should be a nod to three men who quietly protested even though it had a negative impact on them as athletes and Olympians. I had a late inspiration to rewrite the chorus section. The revised section really brought an upbeat and positive vibe to an otherwise solemn tune... the juxtaposition of what a great thrill it must have been to be in the Olympics and yet have this big weight of representing a movement.”
Tipp’s efforts, both in band leadership and composition, have a paid off in spades with this tune. Under The Lake feel like a completed puzzle. The performance appears effortless. There’s the polished groove that comes from musicians at the top of their craft; yet, the heart and joie de vivre come from a group who doesn’t take it all too seriously. What results is the special sauce: a killer performance.