Groovy beats found from unexpected sources |

Groovy beats found from unexpected sources

The Groovetrotters, a family band rooted in musical genres that range from jazz to reggae, blues, rock, funk and fusion.
Courtesy Photo

— When it’s least expected, music can just happen.

For this particular group of musicians from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, their origins formed in a fortuitous manner.

“When the boys were 3 and 4 years old, they got an instrument in their hands and weren’t learning it but just played a couple notes,” said Marcel Groovetrotter about each of his sons. “We got everyone together and just started jamming. That’s where the whole thing kinda started.”

The Groovetrotters are as much family as they are musicians. Growing up in a musically inclined family, Marcel dabbled with a few other bands here and there but never considered having a band with his own family. Now, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I have yet to perform with a band that I would prefer to play with when it comes to the quality that I’m getting from these four guys,” Marcel said.

Traveling far and wide, the Groovetrotters will be back in Steamboat to perform at Gondola Square for the Steamboat Mountain Music Series at 7 p.m. Friday.

Keep in mind these kids have been playing since they were 5 years old or younger. Growing up, they’ve each had encouragement and inspiration from one another as well as a variety of musical influences.

The band’s drummer, Claude Groovetrotter, 14, had a knack for the drums since he was only a year old. Pierre Groovetrotter, 16, impresses audiences with his complex rhythms and back-up vocals along with his impeccable sense of timing and groove. Jerome Groovetrotter, 18, is the group’s keyboardist and has been heavily influenced by the likes of Herbie Hancock and George Duke. The oldest sibling, BJ Groovetrotter, 19, was drawn to his dad’s bass playing and continues to expertly perform with ease and finesse. Equal parts fatherly figure and fellow bandmate, Marcel Groovetrotter, is the group’s manager and guitar player.

One of the first shows BJ remembers was when he was 8 years old and the group performed at a talent show for a local church.

“We blew everyone out of the water because the audience was like, ‘Wait a minute, how are they playing like this?’” He said.

They still get that reaction from audiences today.

“It pumps you up and you want to show them what you are all about,” BJ said.

Starting off as a true, original band, the group quickly developed their distinct sound. Performing at venues in Cabo, they were influenced by the music culture rooted in classic rock with funky jazz tunes around the edges. Adding their own twist to the mix, they incorporated reggae-infused elements to covers and original songs.

“We have some straight up rock songs like Lenny Kravitz, then all of a sudden it will change and take this whole detour into the land of reggae,” Marcel said.

Improvising on a regular basis, the group is most comfortable in a live performance atmosphere.

“It’s really about staying on a groove,” BJ said. “We try to keep playing it for as long as we can. It’s like when you eat a piece of candy and you keep wanting more of it.”

Observations of the crowd often is key when determining the improvisation the group is so keen to enact.

“You can tell they get consumed or drawn into what you are doing, especially when you are going into a jam,” Marcel said. “There is something that happens right on stage that pulls people in and you have to try to expand on that and make it better.”

As with any band, there are ups and downs to performing with the other members and living in close proximity on a regular basis. But when it’s family, there’s a kind of support and encouragement that’s often hard to come by with just band mates.

“There is one thing that you know you can count on, always,” Marcel said.

The subtle communication, and unspoken cues offer the members of Groovetrotters the ability to speak openly and criticize freely. Because at the end of the day, family will always be there.

“When you are in a band with just your friends, there is always that embarrassment that comes when telling a friend they are doing something wrong,” BJ said. “But with your family, if someone is doing something wrong there is nothing stopping us from telling him so. It’s not like they want to quit because how can you quit family?”

Developing their own strengths within the group, the members of the Groovetrotters will have an album out at the end of August. They have been working with a record producer in Salt Lake City and have high hopes for what is to come.

“Everyone is really serious about doing this and going somewhere with it,” Marcel said.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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