A musical groove is most typically created by a small group of musicians working together, each contributing parts to the whole. Characterizing the knowledge behind such interactive ventures has proved to be challenging. This article attempts to characterize the knowledge basic to grooves first by concentrating on ‘the groove’ as it is practised in soul, rhythm and blues, jazz fusion and various other popular genres, and second by focusing on cognitive knowledge structures called conceptual models. It is argued that musicians rely on such structures to produce grooves, and that listeners make use of similar structures to understand them. Grooves from the music of Eric Clapton, Miles Davis and James Brown are discussed, and conceptual models for each are developed.