Grant Geissman – BLOOZ
General Confusion Music/ASCAP
CD: 12 Songs, 61 Minutes
Styles: Instrumental Blues, Jazz-Influenced Blues, All Original Songs
“Don’t overthink it.”
If you’ve watched the hit CBS sitcoms Mike and Molly, B Positive, and/or Two and a Half Men, you’ve probably heard of Grant Geissman. The catchy theme song for Men, all by itself, earned him an Emmy nomination. Now he’s playing the BLOOZ, and he never overthinks it. His freeform, jazz-influenced style is a trademark on television, so why not continue to branch out? On twelve original instrumentals, he and his fellow musicians wend their way through gospel (“Preach”), Latin-inspired blues (“Carlos En Siete”), rockabilly (“White Walls and Big Fins”) and gentle experimental (“Sorry Not Sorry”). There’s a method to the meandering here. Each number arrives at a clear, delightful destination. Though Grant may not play the blues as most of us recognize them, these songs are unique, melodic, and heartfelt despite their lack of lyrics.
California-born Geissman’s storied career took off in late 1976, when he was asked to join Chuck Mangione’s band. The first album these two recorded was Feels So Good, featuring an iconic guitar solo by Grant on the title track. His pop and jazz solo work in the 1980s also helped him define the contemporary instrumental music of that era. He released four albums with Mesa/Bluemoon in the early 1990s, and label president George Nauful notes: “In 33 years of running the label, I can honestly say that Grant’s releases are among my favorites. And now I love every track on this new album! All the compositions and the musicianship are off the charts. We are very excited to be working with Grant again.” The man himself says of BLOOZ, “It’s the album I’ve always wanted to make.”
With him are Randy Brecker, Tom Scott, Robben Ford, Josh Smith, Joe Bonamassa, John Jorgenson, Jim Cox, Russell Ferrante, Emilio Palame, David Garfield, Trey Henry, Kevin Art, Ray Brinker, Bernie Dresel, Tiki Pasillas, and Kevin Ward.
I’d like to draw your attention to two more highlights, tracks six and nine: “Rage Cage” and “Stranger Danger.” (A lot of the song titles on this album show such parallelism.) The former is a jump-blues masterpiece that showcases Geissman’s guitar skills at optimum level. They soar above the keyboards and snazzy drumline, then allows the keys to take the lead, never missing a beat. The original hook and refrain then returns. You’ve almost forgotten them, but they reappear like old friends after a long absence. “Stranger Danger” is a smooth jazz track reminiscent of the “Pink Panther” theme, but with a lot more guitar and a lot less saxophone. It’s relaxing and mood-setting, perfect for a soundtrack at a quiet, dimly-lit café on a rainy evening.
Grant Geissman’s instrumental BLOOZ are eclectic, skillful, heart-touching and at times mind-blowing. They’re not what we’re used to, but they’re worth several repeats on your playlist!