Grant Geissman (with Chick Corea & Chuck Mangione): Chuck and Chick
Chuck and Chick
Grant Geissman (guitar)
Cool Man Cool (Futurism 2054)
Trey Henry (bass), Brian Kilgore (percussion), Ray Brinker (drums).
Composed by Grant Geissman.
Recorded: Various locations, June-July, 2008
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Bad timing for this release . . . During the last 15 months, more than half of the smooth jazz radio stations in the US have disappeared. And I wonder how many fans of straight-ahead jazz will even give this disk a listen, despite the allstar cast. Geissman put together a number of interesting combos for his Cool Man Cool CD, but this may be the best. Mixing acoustic guitar with a high power rhythm section is not always a smart idea, but Geissman bobs and floats above the fray—although a lot of credit goes to the engineer who adeptly captured the sound balance. Mangione will never get respect from jazz insiders, who will always steam over the fact that he out-sold Freddie, Woody and a bunch of other hard-boppish and avant-garde-ish players several decades ago. But his tone on flugelhorn is lovely, and even when his improvisations might look commonplace if sketched out on staff paper, they have some emotional bite when he delivers them on the horn. Chick Corea also gets high marks for his sweet and succinct solo. But the most interesting thing here is the tune, which Geissman wrote, yet sounds like what a jazzy computer would produce if programmed to combine the distinctive trademarks of Corea and Mangione in a single chart. It's downright uncanny how closely the guitarist captures the spirit of his two "name" guest artists" on this composition.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia