GroOovematic is a dynamic jazz trio from France that combines modern influences from music genres like funk, electro, and hip-hop with traditional sounds to create their own eclectic style. The group is touring through Argentina this month to promote their first album, the self-titled compilation GroOovematic, to be released in November.
Playing intimate concerts in Argentine jazz clubs and cosy theatre venues with a final pit stop in Uruguay, the trio– which has already toured extensively through Europe and Asia, is excited to share their music in a different part of the world.
Cédric Hanriot is the enthusiastic leader of the group, having worked as a solo jazz artist and on different projects for several years before forming GroOovematic. Hanriot is a pianist, composer, and producer– a true musician in every sense of the word and has headed the group since its formation about two and a half years ago.
Hanriot started playing music much later most musicians of his skill level, first sitting down at a piano at age 20. However, his natural talent was apparent from the start, and since his introduction to the world of creating music he never looked back. Hanriot taught himself the basics and then developed his repertoire playing with French jazz bands about six years later. He received a Fulbright grant in 2006 that brought him to the US to study at the Berkeley School of Music in Boston– an event that he says really changed his career and formed him as a musician. While in the US, Hanriot thrived upon the historic jazz influences of the east coast and met veteran musicians he still works with today. After graduating from Berkeley, he recorded his first album, French Stories, with well-known musicians James Genus and Terri Lyne Carrington, released in 2011. He then returned home to France, where he would begin the GroOovematic project and record his second album with the trio.
The 35-year-old is the visionary of the group’s unique music that intricately layers soft jazz piano with percussion and double bass accompaniment. Hanriot usually does the groundwork composing the trio’s preliminary melodies and harmonies and then brings the charts to fellow band members Jean-Baptiste Pinet and Bertrand Beraurd who join in to develop a final product.
As far as the actual process of writing music goes, Hanriot explains: “Influences can come from a lot of different things–intense feelings or emotions that you experience and want to translate into music. Or, for example you hear a concert and you feel inspired or moved by the music and it gives you an idea that you then go and develop.”
After rehearsing, the group debuts their pieces to live audiences who marvel at Hanriot’s effortless dominion over the piano as his agile fingers dance melodically over the keys. Talking with the group about the style of the band, Beruard says: “We try to mix jazz with now-a-days influences like rock, hip hop, funk and electro.”
Although all three GroOovematic musicians are from the same area in France, they grew up listening to different types of music, something that influences where they draw inspiration. Hanriot and Beraurd started playing rock and funk music together in their early twenties, and then met Pinet and began their current jazz trio. The group takes pride in the fact that each member brings his own different style and experiences to the table, and tries to take advantage of the richness of the diverse musical backgrounds and personalities they carry.
According to Hanriot, “Yeah, the good thing is that we basically have two generations, [there is about a 15-year age gap between Hanriot and Beraurd and Pinet] and three different people in the band … and we all listen to different music– we don’t listen to the same bands at all! Really thanks to that we’ve made up an original band.”
Hanriot favoured more mainstream pop and funk music, as well as in the 1980s, which he points out was the first era for synthesizers, which he incorporates in his work. Beraurd grew up listening to rock music like Led Zeplin, Queen, and The Doors, whose sounds he still admires, while Pinet leaned more towards French pop and underground styles. Pinet notes that this wide range of genres comes forth in GroOovematic’s sounds, saying, “We mix all of these kind of influences in our music.”
On this tour, the idea is to play up the group’s liveliness, which has been a defining aspect of GroOovematic from the start.
Hanriot explains: “What I really want to do with this project is keep this kind of groove in our music– I don’t want to be disconnected to that vibe. That’s what really touched me and drew me to music in the first place– when you can dance and when the music makes you move. That’s what attracted me more than anything else, and I don’t want to lose that.”
Notorious Jazz Club in Buenos Aires and the Claypole Jazz Festival just outside of the city have hosted the group thus far.
Their tour continues at the venues listed below:
18th June, Ciclo Jazz Impressions– Maria Bonita, Mitre and Macias, Adrogué, Argentina
21st June Thelonious Jazz Club– Salguero 1884, Buenos Aires, Argentina
22nd June Jazz Festival Lomas de Zamora– Teatro Municipal, Manuel Castro 220, Argentina
25th June Teatro Municipal, Bahia Blanca, Argentina
27th June Teatro Solis– Sala Zavala Muniz, Montevideo, Uruguay
29th June Teatro Uama, Carmelo, Uruguay.