Tom Grant – Nice Work if You Can Get It

Tom GrantTom Grant
Nice Work if You Can Get It
(nuWrinkle – 2004)
by Ricky Miller

Nice Work If You Can Get It is Tom Grant’s 20th release of his over 30-year career. Unbelievably it’s also his first straight jazz album and the first to really feature his smooth vocals. Known for his prolific and talented work in the Smooth Jazz arena, Grant has heeded the call of his many mainstream jazz fans by releasing a blend of American Jazz standards with a touch of Bossa Nova.

Listen to Celia using RealAudio.

The sole original track Celia is lovely and smooth, bordering on that which we know Tom for best… smooth Jazz, delicate keyboarding doing the storytelling. His vocal interpretation of standards like On green Dolphin Street, All Of You and I’m Old Fashioned (recorded at the Ron Steen Jam Session and aired on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat in 2003) is soulful and very Grant-esque – his sparkling personality flows through his singing.

Always drawn to the Bossa Nova style, a recent trip to Brazil influenced Tom to include two Brazilian songs on the CD. A Felicidad features beautiful Portuguese lyrics by Portland, OR based vocalist Nancy Curtin, and Desafinado is rendered solo with Grant scatting jauntily alongside his sprightly, clever piano with the “style” I’m sure Jobim intended,

Several of the tracks on Nice Work If You Can Get It were recorded live in October 2003, at The Backgate Stage, in Portland, OR. Along with Tom on piano and vocals, he is joined by Phil Baker on bass, Ron Steen on drums, and style on one vocal. Bill Beach takes over piano chores on a couple cuts when Tom fronts the band with his vocals. Additional musicians who add to the depth and layers of this album include such northwest favorites as Dave Captein and Dennis Caiazza on bass, Gary Hobbs on drums, Paul Mazzio and Richard Titterington on flugelhorn.