Since the dawn of recorded sound, music can be seen as a giant tapestry to which all musicians lend their creative influence. One band focused on the explosive evolution of this musical ecosystem is Groundation. Rooted in the reggae one-drop sound of Jamaica, Groundation seamlessly incorporates the harmonic, polyrhythmic, and improvisational elements of jazz, breathing new life into both genres. As one critic described it, Groundation begins at the crossroads where Burning Spear meets John Coltrane.
Groundation’s unique reggae fusion can be heard from villages in Thailand, to the favelas of Brazil, from the mountains of New Zealand, to Moroccan cafes and college dorm rooms in the United States. Since 1998 they’ve performed in more than thirty countries on six continents, sharing the stage with such diverse artists as Jimmy Cliff, Sly and the Family Stone, The Roots, Kanye West, Queens of the Stone Age and Sonic Youth.
So it is only fitting that the Summer of 2014 sees the band returning to their homelands for the Coming Home 2014 North American Tour, where the band will be playing in cities they haven’t visited in many years. Including dates in as far flung locations as Texas, Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, and all points in between, this is the homecoming that the band and their legions of fans have been looking forward to.
Though their albums have become modern benchmarks in production quality and story telling, the true power of Groundation, like their namesake ceremonies, really comes through in the live setting. Though sometimes likened to a Reggae “jam band,” due to their epic shows featuring constantly changing set lists and extended improvisations, the band is more firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition. Whether through their uniquely gifted musicianship or visionary lyricism, Groundation pulls off the singular feat long mastered by true Roots Reggae—-rough and revolutionary messages draped in appealing and soothing music. And the results speak for themselves.