Since 1976 and the release of his debut album ‘Mystified’, pianist Tom Grant has been wholly in sync with what great contemporary jazz should be all about. In all he has released twenty three CDs and is now set to add to that with his latest offering, the sublime ‘Delicioso’. Pronounced Dee-lish-e-oso it is a sophisticated collection of original music with those twin components of rhythm and melody at its very heart.
Tom was born in Portland, Oregon and was taught to play piano and drums by his father. After graduating from the University of Oregon, and a short stint as a high school teacher, Tom answered his musical calling. He toured and recorded with such jazz greats as Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Charles Lloyd and Tony Williams but by 1983 was already pioneering the genre of music that evolved into smooth jazz.
‘Delicioso’ demonstrates to perfection that Grant has lost none of his smooth jazz magic and a case in point is the jazzily languid ‘Whistling In The Park’ which features Marion McClain on guitar and great work on sax from Renato Caranto. When Caranto returns for ‘The Dog Park’ he combines with Grant to engender what can best be described as a ‘south of the border’ type of a groove and this zesty mood extends to the shuffling Latin undercurrent of the sumptuous title track which, in every respect, is a genuine mid tempo delight.
The first single serviced to radio is the bright and breezy ‘Cute New Car’ which offers an enchanting contrast to the decidedly mellow path that Grant takes to ‘Language Of Our Own’ where the tender tones of co-writer Shelly Rudolph radiate throughout the entire piece.
Rudolph also affords a writing input (this time with bass player Phil Baker) to the heavily Latin ‘Enamorata’ where her own Spanish vocals fit like a glove and, although ‘Escape Into Dreamland’ enjoys an expansive cinematic quality, the romantically inclined ‘Dancing Heart’ enables Grant to deliver something of a piano master class.
Both ‘Nature Walk’ and ‘Breathing In The Love’ share a restful vibe that comes courtesy of Grant’s wonderful piano melodies while elsewhere ‘Lizard Lounge’ proves to be another cool cut to savour. Right up there with album’s best it includes more superb sax from Renato Caranto yet equally good and a real Smooth Jazz Therapy favourite is ‘Luxuriam’. With a good contribution from Paul Mazzio on trumpet this easy paced charmer is quite simply a chunk of timeless smooth jazz.
‘Heidi’s Sons’ provides a poignant ending to a delicious collection that is a ‘must have’ for Tom Grant fans new and old.
For more go to www.tomgrant.com