Fresh out of the music program at Rollins College, Orlando upstarts The Groove Orient make their way to Pensacola’s Handlebar Saturday night. Their sound is nestled in the sweet spot of jazz, jam, funk, and world music, and their balanced approach shows a band mature beyond its years. O&A recently chatted with guitarist Chuck Magid about how the classroom teachings translate to live performances and what an enjoyable grind the road can be for a new band.

O&A: How and when did you guys get together?

Magid: We first got together in the spring of 2013.  Our college’s radio station, WPRK 91.5 was putting on a music festival on campus and two of us were attended the staff meetings informing them that we wanted to perform.  Once the WPRK staff gave us the green light to perform, we realized we didn’t have a band.  The Groove Orient was then born.

O&A: How did your time in the music program at Rollins College shape you as live musicians?

Magid: Rollins was a great time for all of us.  The school is amazing and the musical instruction has definitely shaped who we are today.  The best thing that happened musically was the creation of this band.

O&A: What’s the biggest difference between playing music in a classroom and on stage to a rowdy crowd?

Magid:  We aren’t getting graded on stage.  We are really critical of ourselves, which pushes our desire for perfection, but when you get on stage, its all about having fun.  I was always way more nervous playing in the classroom for a final than performing in front of people.

O&A: What’s most difficult about getting a new band off the ground?

Magid: Getting your foot in the door in the small world of the music business has definitely been the most difficult.  Its all about who you know.  So get out there and play a show!

O&A: You’ve hit the road pretty hard from the get-go. Why is the live show so important to you guys?

Magid: Touring is something that each one of us wants to do for the rest of our lives and now that we are out of school we can finally do that.  Our music has taken us to 9 different south east states with over +150 shows performed in our debut year as a band.  Being able to travel with your best friends to a place you might not have gone if it wasn’t for your music is a pretty accomplishing feeling.  Our live show is who we are.  It is filled with five different musical attitudes that bring you one giant sound that we like to call The Groove Orient.

O&A: What’s the band’s goal when it steps on stage?

We want to deliver a mature musical experience that will make you want more, but when it comes down to it it is all about having fun.  We have the best time when we are on stage and we want to reflect that in our performance and deliver that to the listener.

O&A: Any horror stories from the road?

Magid: Not too many horror stories.  You will always have your transportation breakdowns, and there was a terrible recreational soccer accident in Charleston, South Carolina one time, but besides that and some band-crazed girls we are just living the dream.

O&A: Best concert you’ve ever seen?

Magid: I think two of the greatest performances I have ever seen were at Bear Creek 2013.  Bootsy Collins & The Roots.  Nothing has really topped that.

O&A: Each member of the band pick their favorite player of all-time of their particular instrument.

Chuck Magid, guitar – Jimi Hendrix
Tommy Shugart, keys– Jimmy Smith
David Vanegas, percussion – Richard Bona
Paul Terry, drums – Tony Williams
Harry Ong – bass – Pino Paladino      Vocals – James Taylor

Photo: Band Official