Jazz CD Reviews

Grant Geissman, guitar – Cool Man Cool – (with Chuck Mangione, Russell Ferrante, Tom Scott, Jerry Hahn, Chick Corea, Patrice Rushen, Van Dyke Parks and others) – Futurism Records

A highly original and extremely varied musical journey

Published on May 14, 2009

Grant Geissman, guitar – Cool Man Cool – (with Chuck Mangione, Russell Ferrante, Tom Scott, Jerry Hahn, Chick Corea, Patrice Rushen, Van Dyke Parks and others) – Futurism Records

Grant Geissman, guitar – Cool Man Cool – (with Chuck Mangione, Russell Ferrante, Tom Scott, Jerry Hahn, Chick Corea, Patrice Rushen, Van Dyke Parks and others) – Futurism Records FR-2054, 1.3 hours *****:

This is a sort of sequel to Geissman’s previous album Say That!, which we reviewed here.  Again, versatile guitarist Geissman has assembled some of his cohorts, such as Jim Cox and Mike Finnigan on B-3, and has even more illustrious guests sitting in than on the first album. Also, again he adorns the double-fold cardboard packaging on the cover and inside spread with 50s-looking artwork by Miles Thompson that follows a sort of swinging beatnik theme in all its little characters. Geissman having authored a book on comic book artists is evidently behind the retro graphics.  He even supplies some stick-on fake tattoos of some of the figures, and there are two big fold-outs  – one with details on every player on every tune plus B&W collages of the recording session, the other with notes by Bill Milkowski describing each and every track of the album. With all the stuff stuffed into this album, one comes away with more of the experience of handling a 12-inch vinyl jacket and notes rather than a paltry little five-inch reduction.

Geissman, originally based in the San Jose area, studied guitar with the noted Jerry Hahn, who says he was the best student he ever had.  Geissman commuted 180 miles round trip for his lessons with Hahn in Marin County. He plays both Gibson electric guitar and acoustic guitar. He’s heard on the latter for Minnie Lights Out, described by Geissman as “Stephan Grappelli and Django meet Scott Joplin.”  The comics-tie in continues with this title – it’s about what if Minnie Mouse (who’s pretty sexy and together) decides to dump loser Mickey and light out on her own? And that’s just one example of the eclectic slant of all these tunes. Geissman doesn’t hog the spotlight with extended guitar solos – he lets all his fellow musicians contribute, and the overall sound is cohesive and fits together perfectly with some fine arrangements. The variety of styles from tune to tune is mind-bending.  It includes Latin, funk, gypsy jazz, bop, blues-influenced, and even some “bachelor pad music” such as the Martin Dennyish “Tiki Time.”  The latter fits right in with the kitschy but fun illustrations on the album. This would be perfect music to have on while perusing one of those fancy comic collection graphic books such as the complete Crazy Kat or Calvin & Hobbs!  Good sonics too!

TrackList:

  1. Cool Man Cool
  2. Chicken Shack Jack
  3. Too Cool for School
  4. Chuck and Chick
  5. Even If…
  6. Dig Some Sides?
  7. One for Jerry
  8. Minnie Lights Out
  9. Tiki Time
10. Nawlins
11. Crazy Talk
12. Ya Think?
13. Mad Skillz
14. Cool Blooz

 

– John Henry

 

 




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