Detroit’s Groove Council is an intimidating outfit with nine members — just like the U.S. Supreme Court. But never fear, the council always rules in your favor unanimously. Who doesn’t love Motown, funk and R&B, performed by a vivacious vocalist, a crack rhythm section and a phalanx of horns?
The Council’s first “session” was held in 2006, pulling musicians from around Detroit, and even from Canada, to generate joyful funk/R&B on a festival scale.
“We like ‘groove’ because it relates to the kind of music we play,” alto sax player Ron Tedesco explained. “‘Council’ works out because we are a large band and the word has a certain official-sounding ring of authority.”
It’s not easy to hold together a band this big, but Blues Council has thrived through thick and thin for over a decade, earning a shelf of Detroit music awards and regularly backing up sax legend and former Silver Bullet Band member Alto Reed.
It’s hard to believe that singer Kathleen Murray, who easily expresses herself over a formidable horn section, took many years to overcome a fear of singing publicly.
“I’m late to the game,” Murray said. “My husband and I were married for many years before he heard me sing.”
Tedesco and Murray are married.
“I thought, ‘He can do it and so can I,’” Murray said. “I’ve always loved to sing. I wish I had gotten married to him sooner.”
Blues Council is her first band, but she has made up for lost time since it formed, starting a second project, the rock-blues Kathleen Murray Band, which played Lansing BluesFest two years ago. She often gets the call to join a variety of projects around Detroit, most recently with the Motor City Women, bluesman Bobby Murray and singer Thornetta Davis. She’ll play the Green Door the week after BluesFest.
“I love coming to Lansing,” she said.
“You are blessed with so much talent. The festival is one of my favorites. We were so very excited to get the call.”
Kathleen Murray and the Groove Council at BluesFest 7:00-8:30 Sat., Sept. 16