The GROOVE PROJECT is an American musical supergroup formed in 2016 by GRAMMY® Award nominated Musician & Producer ARUN SHENOY.
It features a rolling roster of musicians and the current lineup is an 8 man band, fronted by SHENOY and acclaimed producer MATTHEW SHELL; and prominently featuring pianist LONNIE PARK and saxophonist MARCUS MITCHELL. The airtight rhythm section is locked down by GLENN WELMAN on the drums and HECTOR RUANO on bass. And finally, guitarist SAMITURU brings his maverick guitar work to the music. Shell plays the role of the primary songwriter along with keyboardist DAVID JOUBERT.
The original 14 man lineup from 2016, that included Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band), Jim “Kimo” West (Weird Al Yankovic) and Ed Roth (Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats), released a concept jazz funk album titled A STAGEY BANK AFFAIR. Art directed by the late ROSHNI MOHAPATRA. The record was chosen as Album of the Year by Jazziz Magazine’s Critics Pick and dubbed “an explosive, exotic, jazz-funk-rock-barn burner” by noted American journalist and reviewer, Jonathan Widran.
SHENOY shuffled the THE GROOVE PROJECT in early 2019 into the current lineup that is working on a smooth jazz concept album about man’s fascination with flight
The idea of this concept album is in part, a posthumous tribute to Mohapatra (7 Jan 1980 – 13 Dec 2018) who was the brains behind the theme of the breakthrough album Rumbadoodle (2012). As the art director, she had envisioned the flamenco inspired album to be a multi-sensory experience of music, art, animation and physical packaging. Other prominent projects where she carried this concept forward was on Shenoy’s single “Bliss” (2013), launched by the Recording Academy via a Worldwide Exclusive First Look at GRAMMY.com in 2013, and the next full-length album by Shenoy, A Stagey Bank Affair (2016). She has previously cited Davie Bowie and Pink Floyd as some of her early influences for art direction of musical projects.
With the launch of a new single every month culminating in a full length album in the summer of 2020, producers Matthew Shell & Arun Shenoy, have chosen to take a production direction leaning more towards the Smooth Jazz style, with each member of the group bringing a unique perspective to the music.
The inspiration for the debut single, “PILOT” came from the popular quote by author and speaker Michael Althusser – “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the Pilot.”
Following suit, the inspiration for the second single “FIRST FLIGHT” came from the quote by Leonardo da Vinci – “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
The third single titled “TO BE A BIRD” has been inspired by the quote by Neil Armstrong – “Gliders, sailplanes, they are wonderful flying machines. It’s the closest you can come to being a bird.”
The inspiration for the fourth single “OCEAN OF AIR” comes from the quote “Unlike the boundaries of the sea by the shorelines, the “ocean of air” laps at the border of every state, city, town and home throughout the world.” by Welch Pogue
The fifth single titled “NEVER TOUCH THE GROUND” has been inspired by the quote by Douglas Adams – “Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
The sixth single titled “SHADOWS” has been inspired by the quote by Amelia Earhart – “You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.”
The seventh single titled “HOME IN THE SKY” has been inspired by the quote by Jerry Crawford – “To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.”
The inspiration for the eighth single “LEAP OF FAITH” comes from the quote “He who leaps for the sky may fall, it’s true. But he may also fly.” by Lauren Oliver
The ninth single titled “GRAVITY” featuring special guest, Armenian pianist, VAHAGN STEPHANYAN, has been inspired by the quote by Michael Cunningham – “The secret of flight is this – you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws.”
ARUN SHENOY burst onto the international stage out of relative obscurity with a GRAMMY® Award nomination at the 55th Annual GRAMMY® Awards for his debut Flamenco world fusion production titled RUMBADOODLE in 2012.
Shenoyʼs follow up single “BLISS”, from his Indian World Fusion project was launched by the Recording Academy via a Worldwide Exclusive First Look at GRAMMY.com in 2013. His second full length record released in 2016, A STAGEY BANK AFFAIR was chosen as Album of the Year by Jazziz Magazine’s Critics Pick and dubbed “an explosive, exotic, jazz-funk-rock-barn burner” by noted American journalist and reviewer, Jonathan Widran.
Shenoy released an EP in 2018 titled THE UNPLUGGED SONGWRITER SESSIONS in collaboration with THE MAVERICK EXPRESS, a rolling roster of musicians comprised largely of Shenoy’s long term collaborators. On this album, Shenoy introduced his intimate singer-songwriter work.
He shuffled the GROOVE PROJECT in early 2019 into the current 8 man musical group.
Looking back at Shenoy’s music over the years, Widran has noted that Shenoy’s discography may sound a bit scattered, but it’s reflective of a brilliant, multi-faceted creative mind, pushed relentlessly by a restless spirit. He has noted Shenoy’s work as some of the most compelling, heartfelt and life affirming music he has heard.
MATTHEW SHELL is a music producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist from Rockville, MD. He specializes in rock, R&B, pop, soul, and jazz. Shell has produced for the likes of Kenny Wesley, Marcus Johnson, Greg Adams, GRAMMY® nominee Gerald Albright, GRAMMY® Nominee Carolyn Malachi, and GRAMMY® winners – Paul Jackson Jr. and Wouter Kellerman.
Shell appeared on Marcus Johnson’s Flo: Chill reaching #7 on Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart in 2009. He worked on O.A.R.’s Rain or Shine that hit #5 on the Independent Albums Chart and #7 on the US Alternative Albums Chart. Shell engineered for producer for Philip Lawrence on It’s A Jungle Out Here, featured on the Rio 2 soundtrack (2014).
In 2012, Shell’s album FREEDOM, his collaboration with Trey Eley was launched by the Recording Academy via a Worldwide Exclusive First Listen at GRAMMY.com in 2012. He collaborated with Arun Shenoy on the jazz single “Genesis”, the lead track from his next solo album VICTORIOUS in 2013. His subsequent solo releases include SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP: THE DEEPER MEANING in 2015 and FIRST LIGHT in 2017.
MARCUS MITCHELL is a jazz saxophone based out of Maryland with seventeen albums and a DVD to his name. Mitchell has worked with many artists such as Mike Phillips, Kim Waters, Marcus Johnson, and Destiny’s Child. While attending Shaw University, Mitchell operated 24th Music and performed in the Raleigh North Carolina region with the N-Tune Band.
He was a headliner at the legendary Blues Alley Jazz Club in Washington, D.C. and he performed at Jazz Festival in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, sharing the stage with Paul Taylor, Peter White and the Rippingtons (featuring Russ Freeman).
LONNIE PARK is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Shenoy and Lonnie came together for the first time on Shenoy’s GRAMMY® nominated RUMBADOODLE in 2012. Park has many TV, movie score, and Billboard charting appearances. He has toured, produced, and worked with legendary artists from country outlaw Merle Haggard to folk icon Peter Yarrow, and rock greats Cozy Powell and Chris Caffery
Awards include Global Peace Song Award, Global Music Award, SAMMY Awards, and multiple nominations including a 2019 nomination by the United Nations, the SDG Action Award with GRAMMY® winner Ricky Kej.