Tom Grant

Tune It In

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For Tom Grant, naming his Windham Hill Jazz debut Tune It In has an exciting double meaning. It's a reminder that fans of instrumental music have been listening to his particular brand of melodic piano magic for nearly a quarter of a century -- long before the terms "new adult contemporary" and "smooth jazz" were fashionable. For genre fans in the Pacific Northwest, it's also a reference to Grant's popular weekly radio show on KKJZ in his hometown of Portland, OR. While the title of the new album is a more-than-subtle nudge for listeners to check out his first album of the new century, it's the exciting combination of styles, tempos, and grooves that will keep them coming back for more. Grant keeps the music fresh on Tune It In by dividing the production duties. He produced one tune himself and six with long-time co-producer and co-writer Phil Baker; Grant also called in popular smooth-jazz guitarist and producer Ray Obiedo to produce or co-produce the remaining tracks. Grant's very first recording, Mystified, came out in 1976, and he and Baker try their darndest to capture the fusion vibe of that time on Tune It In's title track -- Grant floats a joyous melody over a punchy, percussive groove, throbbing basslines, and Baker's occasional wah-wah guitar spurts. Grant has long been one of smooth jazz's most endearing balladeers, and the next three tracks feature his amazing eloquence in this area. A cover of 98 Degrees' "Invisible Man" features the gently funky basslines of Nelson Braxton and the seductive tenor sax of Wayne Braxton, while the balmy, breezy "Generous Heart" finds Grant's melody dancing happily over the warm, tropical guitar cool of Obiedo. Obiedo also produced the swaying, irresistible cover of the Vanessa Williams hit "Save the Best for Last."

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