Cool Man Cool
On Cool Man Cool, the stunning follow-up to Say That!, jazz guitarist Grant Geissman takes you places you might not expect to go, but the destination is always cool, man, cool. With cool special guests including Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Tom Scott, Jerry Hahn, Russell Ferrante, Patrice Rushen, and Van Dyke Parks. Packaged in a custom gatefold Mini LP-style cover, and featuring artwork by beat/outsider artist Miles Thompson.
'From scorching bebop to Latin jazz romp, from poignant ballad to jaunty Hot Club of France tribute, with touches of calypso, second line grooves, shuffle blues, greasy organ-fueled funk and '50s-styled exotica along the way, Cool Man Cool stands as Grant Geissman's most eclectic and gratifying outing to date.' - from the liner notes by Bill Milkowski.
1. Cool Man Cool [5:20]
2. Chicken Shack Jack (feat. Tom Scott) [6:56]
3. Too Cool for School [5:22]
4. Chuck and Chick (feat. Chuck Mangione & Chick Corea) [5:26]
5. Even If... (feat. Russell Ferrante) [6:34]
6. Dig Some Sides? [5:20]
7. One for Jerry (feat. Jerry Hahn & Mike Finnigan) [7:31]
8. Minnie Lights Out (feat. Van Dyke Parks & Charlie Bisharat) [5:10]
9. Tiki Time (feat. Chuck Mangione & Russell Ferrante) [6:07]
10. Nawlins (feat. Patrice Rushen & Chuck Mangione) [5:05]
11. Crazy Talk (feat. Russell Ferrante) [3:05]
12. Ya Think? [5:24]
13. Mad Skillz (feat. Tom Scott) [6:06]
14. Cool Blooz (feat. Chuck Lorre, Dennis C. Brown & Mike Finnigan) [5:15]
"This is a wonderful album by the guitarist who was part of some of Chuck Mangione's more memorable recordings, including "Feels So Good." Since the Mangione days, he's established a solid solo career on the West Coast. Cool Man Cool has a lot going for it, especially his clean, melodic and enticing playing throughout. But it also offers a very rare meeting of flugelhornist Mangione with pianist Chick Corea for "Chuck and Chick," a rousing, Spanish-tinged track. Mangione plays on two other tracks. Still, it's Geissman's album, and he plays beautifully on acoustic and electric guitars through the set."
- Jack Garner, Democrate & Chronicle.com
"If you didn't quit playing guitar because it was easier to listen to John McLaughlin than try to be as good as him, Geissman should convince you to quit because it's easier to listen to him than try to be as good. The albums he's been making on his own nickel the last few years just keep getting more and more compelling. This time around, he spreads it around with a guest list including Van Dyke Parks, Chick Corea, Tom Scott, his old Boss Chuck Mangione, Jerry Hahn, Russ Ferrante and Patrice Rushen. If you think biz jazz and smooth jazz is all this MAD Magazine expert is all about, you really need to get your head out of the sand so you can enjoy a guitar man that is really a renaissance cat with a jazz vocabulary that will take you places you've only seen in dreams. An indescribably fantastic sonic journey that's better heard than discussed, do yourself a favor and put this in your Amazon gold box and start dropping hints. Killer stuff!"
- Chris Spector, Midwest Record
"Uh-oh, you may be thinking: "Grant Geissman! Wasn't he the cat who put out all those weenie elevator jazz slabs? The guy who, along with Phil Upchurch and God only knows how many other string twanglers, made syrup soup an annoying household buzz?" Well, yes indeed he was, but I'm exceedingly happy to announce the boy's changed his erstwhile ways...and, yow, what a change!
The Miles Thompson liner art alone tips you off to just how uber-cool this CD is: a canvas of the 50s tiki art the painter Shag has made so hep again in the 20th/21st century, in this case crammed with cultural references (Maynard G. Krebs, Alfred E. Neuman, caricatures of some of the sessioneers, etc.). Probably most ironic is the fact that Geissman took on board a boatload of other musicians who similarly wussed out on the mostly regrettable elevator jazz craze—Patrice Rushen, Chick Corea (blame Scientology here, not "smooth jazz"), Tom Scott, and others—and all seem to be solidly locked back in the old tru-jazz groove along with him...at least as far as this excellent release indicates.
Geissman was always a talented player who I and many felt was wasting his gifts on glossy radio crapola, and this CD makes up for lost time with a vengeance. Crit muckamuck Bill Milkowski called the past wont a "flirtation" and, well, okay, to soft soap the scenario, we'll go along with it. With Cool Man Cool, however, all is forgiven. This swings, bops, chills, and trots out a menagerie of chops in the old West Coast Cool vein with considerable updates. In many ways, though, especially in cuts like Even If...", there's a strong Desmond feel to Geissman's guitar playing, that calculated steps-ahead form of thinking Anthony Braxton was so enamored of in Paul.
Besides the above-noted, Van Dyke Parks, Russ Ferrante, Mike Finnegan, Jerry Hahn, Charlie Bisharat, Alex Acuna, and others make appearances. I mean, this thing is star studded, loaded to the gills with top shelf playing, engineered like a diamond necklace, and packaged in a very sturdy heavy-duty gatefold LP-type jacket replete with extensive liner notes on one broadsheet, credits on another, an illustrated CD sleeve, and even a set of tattoo transfers!
Cool Man Cool is the sort of fare you always suspected Geissman could put out. The halcyon days of Benson, Wes, Kessell, Burrell, Green, and all those way-too-righteous axehandlers is once again showcased. Listen to the absolutely burning exchanges with Jerry Hahn on "One for Jerry", and I'm here and now certifying you ain't NEVER heard the guy play like this..er, unless, of course, you picked up the slab before this one, Say That!, another disc of the cat's pajamas and the CD that prefigured this one. Therefore, look out for both, not just this one, and 86 all the square fodder elsewhere. Break out the martini shaker, settle into the pad for a gone session, and get ready for a trip to hipsville, cats 'n kitties, 'cause Cool Man Cool is hot hot hot!"
- Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange