Ace guitarist Grant Geissman's latest, Bop! Bang! Boom!, impossibly advances the player's increasingly sophisticated techniques and cool grooves yet another step. I ain't kiddin' or exaggerating one little bit. In fact, to these ears, he's into Steve Khan levels—not the same music, as no one plays or composes like Khan—but in terms of sheer intelligence and creativity upon an established form still to be fully mapped out. The guy started excellently many years ago and now has become ridiculously talented at infusing this swing / bop / trad / post-modern hybrid mode with degrees of complexity one would expect of Coryell, McLaughlin, and others. And, c'mon, isn't mutantism what jazz is all about?
I'm not the only cat to feel this way, and Bop features a panoply of top drawer sit-ins: Albert Lee, Larry Carlton, Russ Ferrante, Lee Sklar, Van Dyke Parks, Alex Acuna, Greg Matthieson, and this guy Brian Scanlon who's a wizard on various saxes and can burn through steel when he feels like it. Then there's Texas Shuffle with it's mighty trio of Lee, Carlton, and Geissman all one cut, playing and trading off solos. Someone get the smelling salts, I don't think my poor heart can take it!
Grant allows tons of time for everyone to step out and wail all over the place in each cut, and no one's shy for a split millisecond. I mean, these guys are going to town, then turning around and making a second pass. Forget about catching your breath, that ain't gonna happen, Luigi. And I mean it: ya gotta check this Scanlon dude out. Start with Go to the Window…but, hell, everyone's playing their brains out righteously right beside him. And then there's the packaging.
Coming in a very sturdy paper duo-fold crammed with goodies as well as Shag-inspired 50s beat cartooning by retro, hipster, beatnik, tiki, crash-pad-atom-age artist Miles Thompson, you get a poster-sized credit broadsheet, another poster-sized liner notes fold-out, a sheet of mini-trading cards of 4 cartoon characters, and an illustrated disc liner. Ha! Take that, Japan! The ball's back in your court now! One up us this time if you dare! And if you're a vinyl freak like me, there's a 500 copy limited edition double-LP configuration available (hey, ya only live once, go for it!). Could things possibly get any sweeter?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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