Guitarist Grant Geissman should be no stranger to anyone who has followed the jazz scene over the last 35 years. He's played & recorded with Chuck Mangione, David Benoit, Quincy Jones, among many others, as well as completed countless solo recordings and television show theme songs. Bop! Bang! Boom! is his latest solo excursion, and the guitarist has brought along a fine cast of musicians to help him out, including Albert Lee, Larry Carlton, Tom Scott, Mike Finnigan, Russell Ferrante, Leland Sklar, Doug Lacey, Van Dyke Parks, and a host of others.
Bop! Bang! Boom! is a bright, upbeat, fun mix of smooth jazz, blues, funk, flamenco, zydeco, and latin flavors, not only showing Geissman's talents as a guitar player but also as a composer. "Texas Shuffle" is a rousing blues-rock jam featuring Geissman trading off with fellow guitarists Carlton & Lee, and fusion fans will love the serpentine melodies of "Boom!", complete with some intricate passages from Geissman and Brian Scanton's saxophone. The two once again form a great pair on the intricate "The Singularity", while veteran Scott lends his tenor sax to the pulsating "Q Tip", a real funky jazz number that has plenty of groove. The latin jazz & flamenco flavors that Geissman loves so much come out on the lovely "Un Poco Español", as the guitarist's gentle melodies criss cross with Scanton's sax and the majestic piano of Ferrante. A real surprise here is the Middle Eastern themed "Go to the Window", as Geissman delivers some stunning sitar on this rhythmic, upbeat number. Ferrante's atmospheric Fender Rhodes provides the backdrop for Scanton and Geissman to lay down plenty of sumptuous melodies on "Good Morning Mr. Phelps", and the swinging "Samba En Menor" is another lovely latin flavored song featuring Geissman on the classical guitar, Alex Acuna on a myriad of congas, bongos, bells, tamborine, and Scanton contributing some soaring flute. The guitarist is all by himself on the awesome "Guitarism" a classical guitar tour-de-force, and he's joined by guitarists Dennis Brown and Chuck Lorre on the bluesy "Take Yer Time", a real 'Strat vs. Les Paul' battle, also featuring Finnigan's swirling Hammond B-3 organ. The album ends on a real high note with "Off the Grid", a swinging, funky jazz piece littered with tasty Gibson ES-335 licks from Geissman, raucous Hammond B-3 courtesy of Jim Cox, and Scott's sizzling alto sax.
Bop! Bang! Boom! is a hell of a lot of fun, and one of the most enjoyable smooth jazz albums I've heard this year. In a time when 'smooth jazz' is about as faceless as you can get, Grant Geissman has delivered a set of songs that have variety, melody, plenty of swing, and virtuoso playing. To top it all off, Bop! Bang! Boom! comes in a wild mini-LP styled gatefold sleeved CD, complete with awesome artwork from Miles Thompson, collectible cards, and two fold out posters filled with photos, song information, and more. It's a perfect holiday gift for that special music lover in your life!
1. Boom! 4:45
2. The Singularity 5:38
3. Q Tip (for Quincy Jones) 5:30
4. Un Poco Español 6:01 $0.99
5. Go To The Window 6:20
6. Good Morning, Mr. Phelps 6:01
7. $25 Stella 3:39
8. Texas Shuffle 5:31
9. Samba En Menor 6:12
10. Guitarism (for Ron Purcell) 4:31
11. Take Yer Time 6:17
12. Off The Grid 5:17