Guitarist Grant Geissman became quite a well-known name in smooth jazz for a time, though he grew tired of its repetitive nature and decided to return to straight-ahead jazz. This two-day session consists of originals that are drenched with influences from well-known hard bop dates by jazz legends. The opener, "Say That," will surprise his smooth jazz fans with its potent solos by tenor saxophonist Brian Scanlon, pianist Emilio Palame, and the leader. Geissman's "Theme from Two and a Half Men" is rarely heard for more than a few seconds at a time on network television (and in a doo wop vocal setting at that), so this humorous, swinging instrumental arrangement demonstrates its full possibilities. "Grandfather's Banjo" actually features Geissman playing his grandfather's five-string banjo, backed by Trey Henry (on tuba), Scanlon (clarinet), Palame, and drummer Ray Brinker; this infectious piece has a classic jazz feeling with a clearly modern flavor. Smooth jazz fans may be slow to check out Grant Geissman's Say That, but every other jazz collector should snap it up and join the fun (which includes the colorful artwork and Bill Milkowski's enjoyable liner notes).
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden