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Project Grand Slam: Play

Project Grand Slam is a jazz quartet from New York consisting of Robert Miller (bass), Haim Cotton (keyboards), Ron Thaler (drums) and Gilad Ronen (saxophone). Guest musicians provide trumpet, trombone and guitar. These are accomplished players and have performed with many notable musicians in the past. To my ears this is pure jazz with a touch of rock that helps create up-tempo parts throughout the album. The songs are a mixture of faster and slower beats that gives the disc variety. The songs do not differ in style much from one another, but why should they? These guys have the ability to quicken the pace in a heartbeat and never miss a beat making ultra smooth transitions with ease. My favorite part has to be the wonderful melodies that dominate this disc and should help the band appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. You do not have to be jazz aficionado to appreciate a good melody when you hear one and trust me you will hear plenty starting with the opening song "Studio One". This song has such an infectious groove and a melody that just makes you feel good. The sax line is particularly excellent as they are in many of the songs as it is a dominant instrument.

Another highlight is the remake of the 1986 hit "The Captain of Her Heart". I have always had a soft spot for this particular tune and this is a very tasteful rendition. The sultry vocals of guest musician Judy Tzuke are a beautiful fit.

Keyboards, especially piano, are utilized to full effect and none more so than in "Portrait of Katie". The soft parts are accentuated with saxophone and gentle washes of piano, with both instruments becoming more complex as the song develops. The sax solo is absolutely ripping.

This is a very promising debut release which I am sure will garner plenty of attention among the jazz and jazz-fusion community. I know it got mine.

Track Listing:
1) Studio One
2) Because She Said So
3) The Captain Of Her Heart
4) Riding The Berks
5) Baal HaSulam
6) Harry Knuckles
7) Portrait Of Katie
8) Out Of Tahini
9) Shades Of Memories
10) Heat 2007
11) Ode To Jerry
12) Doin' The Worm
13) The Captain Of Her Heart (Instrumental)

Added: December 27th 2008
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1582
Language: english

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