The members of the George Maurer Group finally have publicly acknowledged what their fans have known for years: They’re a bit twisted — beautifully, refreshingly twisted, like a citrus garnish in a musical martini.
Their new live CD, aptly named “Twisted,” shows them at their kinetic best as they stir things up with their jazz-infused, polished yet rambunctious twist on music that crosses eras and styles.
This is the George Maurer Group’s most energetic, sophisticated recording of their career, capturing the deep talent, seat-of-the-pants style and humorous character of their live performance. It was recorded March 5 at the Dakota.
“Twisted” features five vocalists, all of whom perform in such harmonic perfection on “Drive My Car” that you might almost wish there had been a fifth Beatle.
Other highlights: Vocalist Richard Witteman throws in a shout-out to Minnesota Twin Joe Mauer on “I Can’t Get Started.” Guitarist Muggsy Lauer scats himself a storm on “Caldonia” while Witteman tears up the trumpet solo. Rachel Holder sings a version of “Killing Me Softly” that could make Roberta Flack cry, and bassist Jeff Engholm cranks up the attitude for the bluesy “Your Mind is on Vacation.”
The incomparable Michels delivers a show-stopping performance in the only song that was not recorded at the Dakota show. The version of “Wallflower,” a Latin-tinged original written by Witteman, was recorded in 2003 for the Minnesota Public Radio Morning Show.
“It’s the best recording we’ve ever done of that song,” Maurer says, “and it’s a nod to our past, when the group was only five years old.”