Other than the jazz-superstar accompaniment he receives, pianist/composer and educator Darrell Grant injects a personalized spin, rooted with a distinct musical aura that pervades throughout this 2-disc set. Even on the up-tempo numbers, Grant instills a macrobiotic sense of being into these clear-sighted progressive jazz works. In effect, his music is derived upon the human condition, where understanding, compassion and astute morals trigger his musical aspirations.
On the opener titled "Reconciliation," the pianist projects a bouncy groove, teeming with gently rolling vistas by way of multi-directional flows and cheery choruses. And one of the many surprises includes his sprawling and airy rendition of the standard "The Way You Look Tonight," featuring vibist Joe Locke's delicately enacted fabrics of sound. In other areas, Grant lays down spunky grooves, sparked by harmonious group-based interplay.
When viewed upon as a whole, the leader's compositions shine forth as interleaving works that intimate a cohesive and intimate storyline. On disc-two he fuses gospel and provides an instrumental backdrop for excerpted speeches by Nelson Mandela. Grant performs pop-diva Sheryl Crow's "I Shall Believe," augmented by John F. Kennedy's inaugural address and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream," speech.
Saxophonist Steve Wilson abets the burner titled "Blues for the Masters." Then Grant jabs and spars with the rhythm section via an Afro-Cuban spin on Dizzy Gillespie's "Algo Bueno." Overall, he effectively uses music as a vehicle for expressionism and positive intentions, consummating his pronouncements of well-being to all.