The reputation of smooth jazz went from bad to worse in the ‘90s and 2000s, and 2010 was full of forgettable, shamelessly uncreative smooth jazz CDs that did absolutely nothing to make its soiled reputation any better. But Tom Grant's self-produced Delicioso, it turns out, is among 2010's more substantial smooth jazz releases. The pianist/keyboardist (who is also heard on vibes) offers a light, commercial, gently funky blend of jazz, R&B and pop; Delicioso never pretends to be a Red Garland recording. But there is a difference between light and lightweight, and laid-back, groove-oriented offerings such as "Whistling in the Dark," "Lizard Lounge," "Cute New Car," and "Luxurium" are light rather than lightweight. The vibe that Grant seems to be going for on much of this album is something along the lines of Joe Sample, Lonnie Liston Smith, Jeff Lorber, or Rodney Franklin circa 1979-1982; Delicioso isn't in a class with Sample's Carmel or Smith's Loveland, but it isn't a bad album, either. Grant isn't afraid to stretch out and do some improvising, and his solos have more energy than one usually expects from the jazz-lite crowd. Plus, the 60-minute CD's Brazilian-flavored tunes (which include "The Dog Park" and the title song) are also easy to appreciate. It's obvious that Grant, who turned 64 in 2010, didn't want to record just another turn-your-brain-off album for smooth jazz/NAC radio programmers. That said, Delicioso does have a few throwaway tracks; the disc is slightly uneven. And even though Grant gives himself adequate solo space, he overdoes it with the electronic programming (which is fine for electronica or hip-hop, although jazz is better served by a more organic approach to producing). But all things considered, Delicioso is a decent listen and demonstrates that smooth jazz doesn't have to be total fluff.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson