Connect with us

Jazz CD Releases

New Release From Guitarist Grant Geissman With Many Special Guests



Guitarist and composer GRANT GEISSMAN releases his 16th album, BLOOZ, with special guest Robben Ford, John Jorgenson, Joe Bonamassa, and more!

Leading the way, he takes the listener on a stylistic adventure, exploring the genre in many forms. “The album is called BLOOZ because it’s my take on the blues. It’s a fairly wide interpretation, and not always traditional,” said Geissman. “It’s the album I always wanted to make.”

The gospel-oriented “Preach” (featuring RANDY BRECKER), the Latin-influenced, Santana-inspired “Carlos En Siete” (featuring DAVID GARFIELD), the funky “Robben’s Hood” (featuring ROBBEN FORD), the blues shuffle “This and That” (featuring TOM SCOTT), the mournfully bluesy “Sorry Not Sorry” (featuring RUSSELL FERRANTE), the rockabilly-styled “Whitewalls and Big Fins” (featuring JOHN JORGENSON), and the Bo Diddley- inspired, three-guitar shootout “One G and Two J’s” (featuring JOSH SMITH and JOE BONAMASSA), culminate in a project that might just surprise listeners who think they had a handle on Geissman both as a player and a composer. It’s clear that Geissman, whose storied solo recording career began with Good Stuff (1978), continues to seek out new creative directions and limitless musical possibilities.

Geissman has explored bluesy territory since his early days recording and touring with flugelhorn great Chuck Mangione—an era highlighted by his now-iconic electric guitar solo on “Feels So Good,” Mangione’s 1978 mega-hit. The San Jose native was in his senior year at Cal State Northridge majoring in classical guitar when a mutual friend recommended him for a gig with Mangione. The rest is a long, colorful history of touring and recording that culminated in Geissman’s critically acclaimed recording Cool Man Cool (2009), which featured Mangione performing with jazz legend Chick Corea on the Geissman composition “Chuck and Chick.”

Over the years, Geissman lent his virtuosity to recordings by mainstream artists such as Quincy Jones, Steve Tyrell, Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson, Robbie Williams, and Michael Feinstein; jazz talents like Lorraine Feather, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and David Benoit; and even personal heroes Ringo Starr and Klaus Voormann. Grant grew up as a huge Beatles fan and contributing to Starr’s Ringorama album fulfilled a lifelong dream. Grant also played on a recording/documentary about the life of Voormann, the famed bassist, artist, and longtime member of the Beatles’ inner circle.

A session veteran of numerous film and television scores, Geissman co-wrote the music for all 12 seasons of the hit CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, earning an Emmy nomination for the catchy theme song. He co-wrote the music for all six seasons of Mike & Molly, as well as for the first season of B Positive (both on CBS). He has also contributed specialty music for such shows as The Big Bang Theory and Mom.

In the mid-1980s, eight years after Good Stuff, his debut on Concord Jazz, Geissman launched an impressive string of pop and jazz recordings that put his talents on display and helped define the contemporary instrumental music of the era.

BLOOZ is the fourth album on Geissman’s own label, Futurism, following the trilogy of Say That!Cool Man Cool, and BOP! BANG! BOOM! There is an audible exultation and joy to be found in the music, as it was recorded just after the COVID-19 shutdown ended. The musicians play with the abandon of prisoners whose sentences have been commuted.

The album opener, “Praise,” features guest trumpeter BRECKER, who contributes a stinging soul-jazz solo. “Side Hustle” is a bluesy rhumba—an oxymoron until you hear what Geissman and pianist JIM COX do with it. The Santana-influenced “Carlos En Siete” is the album’s furthest departure from traditional blues forms. Pianist GARFIELD plays a masterful solo on this tune, which is in 7/4. The unusual and challenging time signature takes nothing away from the killer, percussion-driven Latin groove. “Time Enough at Last” is a minor blues that would be quite at home on a 1960s Blue Note album. Grant and pianist FERRANTE make strong solo statements, and trade fours before the return of the melody.

BLOOZ features sax on only two songs. TOM SCOTT’s tenor sax cuts the groove deep on the soulful “Fat Back,” and offers a swinging rejoinder on the jazz shuffle “This and That.” Switching gears, “Rage Cage” is a scorching track that finds Geissman battling it out with Cox on B3 organ, sounding something like a mash-up of ZZ Top and Jimmy Smith.

“Robben’s Hood” is a funky groover that features Geissman and blues/jazz gunslinger ROBBEN FORD. They play the melody together, and then split off to each offer stingingly facile solos. “One G and Two J’s” is a Bo Diddley-influenced tune that features Grant, JOSH SMITH, and JOE BONAMASSA playing a three-guitar melody together followed by each contributing some crazily great blues-based shredding.

“Whitewalls and Big Fins” is a rockabilly-styled tune with JOHN JORGENSON and Geissman sharing the melody, and then each producing some nimble solo picking, while “Stranger Danger” is a seductively understated, darkly moody minor blues that features Grant and pianist Ferrante. The album’s final track, “Sorry Not Sorry,” is an introspective ballad that begins with just solo guitar.

BLOOZ is a collaboration between Geissman’s Futurism label and Mesa/Bluemoon, marking his return to a label that released four of his albums in the early 1990s. “I am very excited about working with Grant again on this excellently crafted album,” said Mesa/Bluemoon honcho George Nauful. “In 33 years of running the label, I can honestly say that his releases are among my very favorites. I love every track on this new album! All the compositions and the musicianship are off the charts. I know it will be a huge critical success.”

“My decision to start the Futurism label and writing and recording in a more traditional jazz vein, came after several years of soul searching to figure out what I wanted to do and what kind of music would mean something to me,” Geissman said. One of the reasons I created the label was so that I could explore anything I wanted—which to me is what an artist is supposed to do. On BLOOZ, with the help of great friends and incredible musicians, I had some of the most fun and made some of the best music of my career. And what could be wrong with that?”

Subscribe to Jazz Guitar Today – it’s FREE!

Continue Reading

Join the JGT Newsletter

Featured Luthiers