On Grupo X
did the band first form?
X came into being in 1996. Initially the band was formed as
a small version of legendary London salsa band La Clave (check out
"Salsa Feeling" - Jimmy L M & La Clave De Londres, International
Records 2002), to do corporate functions and weddings, etc. Then
I started to take it more seriously and began to write for the band.
Before long, we had begun to establish our own sound.
are the current members and what are their backgrounds?
Enright] Mainly London-based, Grupo
X's line-up has a combined wealth of experience in many styles,
having toured and recorded with artists including: Orlando Watusi,
Tito Allen, Adalberto Santiago, Alfredo De La Fe, Pucho & the Latin
Soul Brothers, Snowboy, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Bjork, Tanita Tikarem,
The Braxtons, Kirsty MacColl, Babyface, Dina Carroll, David Gray,
Billy Bragg, Fairground Attraction, Talk Talk, Julian Lennon, Bootsy
Collins, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Jhelisa Anderson, Ornette
Enright - bandleader (trombone, backing vocals)
Jimmy Le Messurier (timbales, drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Pete Eckford (congas, percussion)
Simon Edwards (bass)
John Crawford (piano)
Olly Drew (guitar)
Trevor Mires (trombone)
Finn Peters (flute/alto and tenor saxes)
brought everyone together as one band?
X's line-up came together because of the skills of each musician,
their appreciation of the groove and for their love and respect
for Latin music. Everyone brings his own musical experiences to
X, giving it a unique sound.
also helps that we all get along famously, like a good laugh, a
few drinks and a bit of a "hang" after gigs.
would you describe your music and playing style?
Enright] First and foremost, Grupo
X plays dance music. Our sound owes a lot to the sound of Latin
New York in the 60s and 70s, mixed with essences of the music we've
grown up with and played in other bands (jazz, reggae, soul and
also picked up a lot from our experiences as backing band (both
X and La Clave) to stars of Latin music such as Tito Allen,
Orlando Watusi, Alfredo Rodriquez, Jimmy Bosch, Jack Costanzo, Bobby
Matos, Dave Pike and Johnny Blas.
had our most success from our particular style of English vocal
Latin Soul. Our track Brand New Love (featuring Lisa Millett on
vocals) has crossed over various scenes (salsa, jazz, house, world)
and been picked up by influential DJs (including Louis Vega, Bobbito,
Giles Peterson) along the way.
En Chicago Chico"
image do you think your music conveys?
Enright] We like to have a good time when we get together and
play and, hopefully, this comes across to our audiences.
like to think that we play great, swinging dance music, but if you
peel off a few layers, there's a deeper, darker element, both rhythmically
and harmonically. So you could enjoy our music just as much on the
dance floor or at home on your stereo with your pipe and slippers.
are some of the other artists that you enjoy or draw inspiration
Enright] Everyone in the band has their own favourites, but
from a personal perspective; Eddie Palmieri, Manny Oquendo and Libre,
Cachao, Jimmy Bosch, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin,
Bob Marley, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beatles, The Beach
us about your CD releases? How many have you had? What is your latest
Enright] We've had one CD release, "X-Posure" (LOFTCD01). It
has done really well, gaining a lot of radio and DJ play internationally.
Three of the tracks (Brand New Love, Jonny's Bugalu and Mi Tumbao)
have been licensed to many compilation CDs worldwide. All the tracks
are original, written by members of the band.
also had two releases on vinyl, the Brand New Love and X-Perience
Eps (LOFTEP01JAP and LOFTEO02JAP), both with Lisa Millett on vocals
and both Enright/Le Messurier compositions. These were released
initially for the Japanese market, and subsequently went on sale
are currently working on our next release (due out around September,
this year). We've chosen to record in an old analogue studio in
London and are really happy with the sound we've got. The album
is all original (mostly by myself and Jimmy Le Messurier) and features
more crossover English lyrics with Afro Cuban beats and lots of
swinging trombone monas. Although the jazz influence is still there,
the songs have more of a rootsy feel. We've also included a couple
of up-tempo salsa duras aimed at the dance floor.
often do you play live, how can someone check out one of your shows?
Enright] At the moment, we're fairly quiet on the live front,
but we hope to tour the UK to coincide with our album launch. Then
if it does well, who knows, a world tour beckons. Agents had better
get in touch right now!
are your live shows different from listening to your CD?
Enright] Not much, apart from we're physically there (well most
of the time, anyway). We try and get the live vibe onto our albums
as much as possible. Of course you've got to see us live to see
Olly throw his guitar over his shoulders and go down on his knees.
And I've been known to project my trombone slide into the crowd
at moments of high emotion.
that Latin music has become a staple genre in terms of popularity,
where does your group fit in?
Enright] It's safe to say that we'll never trouble Christina
or Enrique in terms of popularity, but hopefully we'll go on gaining
respect and selling records and be around producing quality music
for years to come.
what ways are you promoting your music?
Enright] A good friend of the band's, Lubi Jovanovic, does our
promotional work. He knows just about everyone there is to know
in the Latin world and does a great job of getting our music out
do you use the Internet to promote your music?
Enright] Grupo X has a website (www.grupo-x.com).
We feature on many more sites as well.
difficulties have you encountered as an independent band?
Enright] The most obvious difficulty is not having a record
label with enough clout to get our music the profile we think it
does the future hold for your band?
Enright] I am hopeful that we'll become a familiar name on the
international festival circuit and that our records will sell by
the bucket load. And after we have recovered from the inevitable
drug addictions and lawsuits, the members of Grupo
X can retire to a salsa rest home by the sea.
else you'd care to add to the mix?
Enright] If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to
email me: email@example.com
by the MusicDish
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It 2004 - Republished with Permission
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