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That San Diego beat

What It Is
What It Is
By Danny Massure

Spring Strut Recordings: 2008

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This review first appeared in the September 25, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

Former San Diego-area resident relocated to Seattle, Danny Massure has a new collection of his funk-soul grooves out that shows Massure took more than his luggage and instruments on his move north. "What It Is" has the unmistakeable imprint of San Diego's music scene, particularly the Greyboy Allstars and various offshoots. With his seamless blending of soul, jazz and Latin, Massure's music is a natural extension of the Allstars' own extension of what Fattburger had done in San Diego in the '80s (which followed Fattburger's own roots in Bruce Cameron's San Diego-based jazz fusion combos of the 1970s).

More aggressive than the Allstars, Massure's latest effort also has more of a techno vibe to it. But it's not Eurobeat, not with that live horn section that recalls the glory days of the Ohio Players and Parliament. There's also the jazz- and blues-based call and response structure on most of the songs, and a sophistication to the arrangements that lead to the listener discovering new facets to the songs on each subsequent listen.

It doesn't exactly hurt, either, that the musicians on the album are all stellar players. The sax of Michael Deasy Jr. on "Four Wheel Slide" is equal parts soul and imagination (and his playing on other tracks is equally riveting). Guitarist Eric Goetz absolutely captures the essence of funk guitar with superb riffing and a beat so steady you could build a Bulova around it. And how have we not heard singer Loretta Jones all over the radio?