Phoenix resident Dominic Amato was born into a family of musicians. His father was a saxophonist before him and his mother a multi-instrumentalist. Amato has also studied with world-renowned saxophonist Eric Marienthal.

Fresh from the Groove opens with the lively Exciting Times and Amato on alto sax. The second track,  Nico’s Smile features Amato on soprano sax.  The title track, third on the Cd could easily have been the opening track with its catchy hook right up front. By contrast, the aptly named Greezy is slow, sleazy and provides a great bed for the Amato’s bluesy alto saxophone. The clever modulation and rhythm section kicks about three minutes into the tune offer an interesting crescendo and diminuendo into the solos. The talkbox EWI solo is unexpected but works well. All in all, Greezy is one of my favorite tracks here.

The decidedly ethnic-sounding Jamaica prompted me to more closely check out the harmonic background to the soprano solo. The Eb minor to B13 changes underneath the mostly Eb harmonic minor based soprano solo is a clear departure from the smooth jazz format – if there is such a thing. The exotic Jamaica is neither common smooth jazz, traditional Reggae nor predictable for that matter.

Amato shows his tender side on soprano saxophone on the likable ballad Still Here With You. Although Dominic Amato is often featured on alto saxophone, he again chooses soprano as his solo voice as on Jazzy’s Flow and My Luvsounds Juslikethis . I very much appreciate Amato’s voice on soprano saxophone.

Out of the Gate, Letsjuschill and My Luvsounds Juslikethis round out Fresh from the Groove with the remaining groove oriented tracks. Broening takes an enjoyable ride on acoustic piano on Out of the Gate followed by Amato’s alto on the out chorus. My Luvsounds Juslikethis is another big winner here – possibly my favorite cut on the cd.

Fresh from the Groove by Dominic Amato and producer/keyboardist Michael Broening at times is pure smooth jazz. At other times it is fresh and unpredictable – but ALWAYS grooves!