Grant Geissman is having a great time making music and one listen to his new album, "Bop! Bang! Boom!," is enough to prove that the fun is infectious. Actually, it starts even before you listen. All of the album's artwork is by the great illustrator Miles Thompson who has perfected (or maybe invented) the "cool, daddy-o" school of art, harkening back to a beatnik-inspired1950s that I'm not sure ever really existed. The package even includes absurd collectable cards.
Most of the album's tunes are wonderfully slinky, featuring the kind of inverted, playful melodies that seem to turn in on themselves in the catchiest possible ways. For instance, "Q Tip," Geissman's tribute to Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova" (which is also reminiscent of Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder"), showcases Geissman's trademark melodic twists. The tune also boasts a great solo by saxophonist Tom Scott, who you might remember from Carole King's 1970s tunes like "Jazzman." Scott is just one of the great guests on the album: Guitarists Albert Lee and Larry Carlton duel with Geissman and bassist Leland Sklar, pianist Russell Ferrante and the legendary Van Dyke Parks (on accordion) all appear on different tracks.
If you remember Geissman from Chuck Mangione's "Feel's So Good," on which he played one of the most delicious guitar solos ever recorded, you will be happy to know that he's as agile as ever, zooming over the strings with double-stops and everything else possible on the instrument. But he is by no means one-dimensional. Geissman proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt when he picks up a nylon string, classical guitar and plays the beautiful "Un Poco Espanol."