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Phil Grenadier: Shimmer

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Phil Grenadier

Phil Grenadier - ShimmerIn the turning and twisting of Phil Grenadier’s yammering—and sometimes raucous—lines, lurks a gentle swinging lyricism that has become the hallmark of his playing through his three albums as leader and through the duo one made with bassist Bruno Råberg as well. On this recording, Shimmer one made up entirely of music from the American Songbook, standards, from Broadway and Tin Pan Alley to the book of the great Wayne Shorter as well. The idea that they shimmer is so utterly true; the music here seems to be aglow as the trumpeter runs the melodies down, ably assisted by bassist Will Slater, who has proven himself to be a sublime harmonist, Karen drummer Karen Kocharyan, who is not only an excellent timekeeper, but also a drummer who uses colour to accentuate melodies and the rich harmonies and one who is melodious and often suggests alternate routes of improvisation to both the trumpeter as well as the bassist. Thus the trio is unique in the many-splendored music that unfolds on music that has been played often, yet sounds so new and wondrous in the re-invention of some of the most beautiful and classic charts. Although the spotlights have been equally distributed during the playing much of this is due to the magnificent virtuoso playing of Phil Grenadier.

Mr. Grenadier is that kind of trumpeter who focuses not on melody, but rather strives for pure tone through exploration of the timbre of his instrument. When he plays thus he makes short, but poignant stabs at the air expelled through the bell, by controlling the valves as a pianist controls the pressure exerted on the piano. Head perpetually cocked to one side like Lester Young, Mr. Grenadier never lets on what is coming this way or that. Instead he shuts his eyes and plays those long lines laced with trumpet chatter and melodies that are wrought from gleaming brass and bathed in the bronzed light of the fierce morning sun. Because he is rather forthright, his notes are heated almost to melting point of brass. His melodic invention is as varied and alive as Medusa’s gloriously living head. Mr. Grenadier shots lines out of the bell of his horn. Sometimes he might pull them back, playing harmonic inversions. At other times he may begin his lines somewhere in the middle of the melody advancing and pulling them back in reverse. Thus the tantalising manner of his playing seems alive with many roots and many branches. In this respect his soli are most like Those of Sonny Rollins; breathtaking in their continuum and the raw energy with which they come alive.

But it is not only Mr. Grenadier who shines. His bass player, seemingly moulded in the likeness of his own brother Larry, seems to be equally inventive as Larry Grenadier. Mr. Slater brings a stunning array of harmonic richness to this project. He is also truly melodic in his approach to his playing. In this regard, he must have schooled himself in the ways of Ray Brown, but over the years has developed a voice of his own. Drummer Karen Kocharyan is wise to the melodies that are being re-invented and contributes much in this regard. Between the three musicians, they have managed to bringing the charts alive with much beauty and newness.

Track List: You Don’t Know What Love is; Stella by Starlight; Yesterdays; I Hear a Rhapsody; I’ll Remember April; In a Sentimental Mood; Footprints.

Personnel: Phil Grenadier: trumpet; Will Slater: acoustic bass; Karen Kocharyan: drums.

Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Release date: March 2014

Website: philgrenadierjazz.com | Buy music on: amazon

About Phil Grenadier

Throughout a career that spans nearly three decades, trumpeter Phil Grenadier has emerged as one of jazz’s most imaginative and innovative players. His two albums as leader, 2000′s Sweet Transients and 2003′s Playful Intentions, have won him copious international acclaim, while his collaborations with a broad array of notable musicians demonstrate the raw talent and adventurousness that led the San Jose Mercury News to call him “a trumpeter of rare fluency and depth.”

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