Groove Collective was formed in 1990. The original members were keyboardist Itaal Shur (who later went on to co-write the #1 hit Smooth for Carlos Santana), percussionist/MC Gordon "Nappy G" Clay, flutist Richard Worth, drummer Genji Siraisi, bassist Jonathan Maron, saxophonist Jay Rodriguez, percussionist Chris Theberge, trumpeter Fabio Morgera, Vibraphonist Bill Ware and trombonist Josh Roseman. After witnessing an early show, producer Gary Katz negotiated the band's signing to Reprise Records, and produced their eponymous debut album in 1993.In 1994, they appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, alongside other prominent jazz artists, Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time Magazine.They scored two minor dance instrumental and adult contemporary hits in 1996 with a cover of The Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (US Dance/Club Play #45, US Dance Maxi Singles #23) and "Lift Off" (US R&B/Hip-Hop #73).Groove Collective's musical style reflects the wide-ranging backgrounds and interests of its individual members. Commenting on the group's 1996 release, We the People,
critic Michael Casey referred to the numerous influences at work in Groove Collective's sound, specifically the presence of Afro-pop, Latin jazz, hip-hop, and traditional jazz stylings. This mix is born of the members' varying influences, including bebop, funk, old-school hip-hop and classic soul. Bassist and co-founder Jonathan Maron has acknowledged the importance of a DJ aesthetic in the music, stating that "(Groove Collective's) goal has always been to emulate the range of music a DJ plays during the course of the night at a packed club....A great DJ knows the songs that can ignite the room and fill the dance floor. Some of my favorite musical experiences have been in clubs, where you listen and realize how well all of these styles blend together into one big idiom of its own." Central to the group's ethic is its insistence on live instrumentation and its ability to create and sustain grooves for a dance floor audience.