Though Grant Geissman achieved his greatest genre success focusing on acoustic guitar and its synergy with the sax, he's also never backed down from great challenges that took his fingers elsewhere. His 1993 classic Rustic Technology was a stylistic departure featuring violin and all acoustic instruments, and his Higher Octave jazz debut In With the Out Crowd (which draws stylistically from the era of Ramsey Lewis' '60s funk-jazz heyday) mixes his gutsy electric edge with raw hip-hop and acid jazz production, hypnotic Crusaders-styled keyboard riffs (with Tim Heintz approximating Joe Sample's Fender Rhodes style), mandolin, steel string and even unusual spiritual touches like chanting and a rolling sitar melody on the mystical, moody "Lost, but Found." For the first time, Geissman also goes sample happy, mixing in alternating koto and muted trumpet riffs above the urban shuffle and universalist chant on "World as One." Clair Marlo also peppers laid-back pieces like "Heartbeat" with a soothing scat-style which balances Geissman's tendency to improvise off his top-notch melodies. Those longing throughout all these unique departures for vintage smooth jazz-Geissman are rewarded with the lively, Acoustic Alchemy-like cruise "Highway 60's Revisited" (which alternates steel string and classical guitar) and "Life...And Stuff," the theme from a short-lived Pam Dawber TV series which draws guitar inspiration from the Byrds and symphonic production ideas from the Beatles. Safe to say that Geissman is one of smooth jazz's leading time-travel navigators.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran