Grant Geissman: BLOOZ AND MORE! – NoHo Art District

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[NoHo Arts District, CA] – Join legendary Emmy-nominated jazz guitarist Grant Geissman at the El Portal Theater on Saturday, September 24 for a concert featuring a superb collection of new bluesy and jazzy tunes, with special guests Randy Brecker, Tom Scott, David Garfield , Russell Ferrante, Josh Smith, Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford and John Jorgenson.

Veteran guitarist and composer by Grant Geissman released their 16th album, BLOZthrough his Futurism label in joint venture with Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings. Open the way, it takes the listener on a stylistic adventure, exploring the genre in multiple forms.

“The album is called BLOZ because it’s my vision of the blues. It’s a pretty broad interpretation, and not always traditional,” Geissman said.

Gospel-oriented “preaching” (with Randy Brecker)“Carlos En Siete” of Latin influence and Santana inspiration (with David Garfield), the funky “Robben’s Hood” (with Robben Ford)the blues shuffle “This and That” (with Thomas Scott), the mournfully bluesy “Sorry Not Sorry” (with Russell Ferrante), the rockabilly-style “Whitewalls and Big Fins” (with John Jorgenson), and the Bo Diddley-inspired three-guitar gunfight “One G and Two J’s” (featuring Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa), results in a project that may well surprise listeners who think they have mastered Geissman as both performer and composer. Clearly Geissman, whose solo recording career began with Good product (1978), continues to seek new creative directions and limitless musical possibilities.

Geissman has explored bluesy territory since his early days recording and touring with the great flugelhorn Chuck Mangione-an era marked by his now-iconic electric guitar solo on “Feels So Good”, Mangione’s 1978 mega-hit. The San Jose native was in his senior year at Cal State-Northridge majoring in classical guitar when a mutual friend recommended him for a gig with Mangione. The rest is a long and colorful history of touring and recording culminating in the critically acclaimed recording of Geissman. cool man (2009), which featured Mangione with the jazz legend Korea chick on Geissman’s composition “Chuck and Chick”.

Over the years, Geissman has lent his virtuosity to recordings by mainstream artists such as Quincy Jones, Steve Tyrell, Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson, Robbie Williams, and Michael Feinstein; jazz talents like Lorraine Feather, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and David Benoit; and even personal heroes Ringo Star and Klaus Voormann. Grant grew up a huge Beatles fan and contributed to Starr’s Ringorama album fulfilled a lifelong dream. Grant also performed on a recording/documentary about the life of Voormann, the famed bassist, artist, and longtime member of the Beatles’ inner circle.

A veteran of numerous film and television scores, Geissman co-wrote the music for all 12 seasons of the hit CBS sitcom two and a half men, earning an Emmy nomination for the catchy theme song. (He included an extended jazzy version of this theme on his 2006 album Say that!). Grant co-wrote the music for all six seasons of Mike and Mollyas well as for the first season of B Positive (both on CBS).

In the mid-1980s, eight years after Good product, his debut album on Concord Jazz, Geissman has launched an impressive series of pop and jazz recordings that showcase his talents. His work helped define contemporary instrumental music of the time. Many of these albums featured tracks that received radio airplay: Put away the childish toys, drink from the money river, snapshots, all my tomorrows, take another look, flying colors, time will tell, rustic tech, reruns (a compilation CD)Business as Usual, In With the Out Crowdand And back again (an audio/video recording on DVD celebrating the 25e year of the Grant Geissman Quintet).

Besides his musical career, Geissman is known as an expert on – and a prominent collector – of 1950s EC Comics and MAD Magazine memories. He is the Eisner Award-nominated author of five definitive books on the subjects, the most recent of which is The history of EC comicsan oversized coffee table tome published by Taschen in 2021. His other books are MAD to collect (Kitchen Sink Press, 1995), Terror Tales! The EC Companion (with Fred von Bernewitz, Gemstone/Fantagraphics, 2000) Cheating! The art and artists of the famous EC comics of the 1950s! (HarperDesign, 2005), and FELDSTEIN: The Crazy Life and Fantasy Art of Al Feldstein (IDW, 2013). Grant also edited and designed The Junior and Sunny Suit by Al Feldstein (IDW, 2014).

BLOZ is the fourth album on Geissman’s own label, Futurism, after the trilogy of Say that!, cool man, and BOP! BANG! BOOM! There is audible exultation and joy in the music, as it was recorded just after the COVID-19 shutdown ended. The musicians play with the abandonment of prisoners whose sentences have been commuted. “We recorded together in the studio, and it was so amazing to finally be able to play with people again,” Geissman said. “And I love this album,” he exudes. “It’s the one I’ve always wanted to do.”

The album’s opener, “Praise”, features a guest trumpeter Randy Brecker, who gives us a scathing soul-jazz solo. “Side Hustle” is a bluesy rumba – an oxymoron until you hear what Geissman and the pianist Jim Cox do with. Santana-influenced “Carlos En Siete” is the farthest from the album’s traditional blues forms. Pianist David Garfield plays a masterful solo on this piece, which is in 7/4 time. The unusual and uplifting time signature doesn’t take away from the killer, percussion-driven Latin groove. “Time Enough at Last” is a minor blues that would be right at home on a Blue Note album from the 1960s. Grant and pianist Russell Ferrante make strong solo statements and trade fours before the melody returns.

BLOZ features saxophone on just two songs “…But those songs were just screaming to Thomas Scottplays,” Grant said. Scott’s tenor sax digs deep into the groove on the soulful “Fat Back” and delivers a swinging cue on the jazz shuffle “This and That.” Switching gears, “Rage Cage” is a steamy track that finds Geissman battling with Jim Cox on the B3 organ, sounding something like a mix of ZZ Top and Jimmy Smith.

“Robben’s Hood” is a funky groover that features Geissman and a blues/jazz gunslinger Robert Ford. They play the melody together, then separate each to offer solos of scathing ease. “One G and Two J’s” is a Bo Diddley-influenced track that features GrantJosh Smithand Joe Bonamassa together playing a three-guitar melody followed by each contributing a blues-based shredding.

“Whitewalls and Big Fins” is a rockabilly style track with John Jorgenson and Geissman sharing the melody, then each producing nimble solo picking, while “Stranger Danger” is a attractivea very sober and dark minor blues that features Grant and the pianist Ferrante. The album’s final track, “Sorry Not Sorry,” is an introspective ballad that begins with lead guitar.

BLOZ is a collaboration between Geissman’s Futurism label and Mesa/Bluemoon, marking his return to a label that released four of his albums in the early 1990s. Georges Nauful. “In 33 years at the helm of the label, I can honestly say that his releases are some of my favorites. I love every track on this new album! All of the songwriting and musicianship is off the charts. I know it’s going to be a huge critical success.

“My decision to start the Futurism label, and to write and record in a more traditional jazz vein, came after many years of soul-searching to figure out what I wanted to do and what kind of music would mean something to me” , Geissman said. “I went back to listening to the classic albums by Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith and Horace Silver that I loved growing up and started to appreciate even more fully how they balanced great melodies with jazz improvisations. This balance became the basis for the first three albums I recorded on Futurism. One of the reasons I started the label was to be able to explore whatever I wanted, which to me is what an artist is supposed to do. On BLOZ, with the help of great friends and amazing musicians, I had the most fun and made some of the best music of my career. And what’s wrong with that?

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