I am by no means an expert in reggae music or reggae culture, but if you ask me, it’s tough to find a good American reggae band. Groundation took the essence of roots reggae, mixed with their jazz and dub influences (and education) and went with it. They have been going with it, what’s more, for nearly two decades.
When we think (tink) of reggae, most of us land on the familiar spot: Bob Marley. Bobby. But listening to Groundation (and to several other Caribbean or Latin reggae bands) there’s more to the genre than syncopated strums and the smoky, foggy atmosphere that always goes with the sound.
Groundation bring interesting jazz breaks mid-song before switching to an outro that seems to belong to a different song than it was before (it’s progressive, fusion, is what I’m trying to say).
To me, reggae is not about technique and virtuosity. It is about remembering a place, a person, a state of mind, from when things were a bit better, a bit less hectic, a bit more relaxed. To me, it means hot summer nights hanging out with friends. High school. Not necessarily weed (I didn’t try weed until way later).
Groundation, while it may not even be one of my favorite bands, is a very good reference to a genre that always makes my day a little bit brighter. If you’re tired of the same old Bob Marley songs (you shouldn’t be) playing over and over, Groundation is a good spot to carry on. It is fusion-y, it is progressive-y, but it maintains the same reggae vibe you’ll surely be looking out for.
Listen to Groundation here: