(2-CD set) With bassist John Patitucci, drummer Brian Blade and guests Bill Frisell, Joe Locke, Steve Wilson and Adam Rogers, pianist/composer Darrell Grant presents his sixth CD as a leader and what he describes as his 'dream project.' Grounded in jazz, the 2-disc set brings together influences ranging from classical to folk & soul. Truth and Reconciliation features deeply personal re-workings of tunes by Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Jerome Kern, Sheryl Crow & Sting as well as showcasing Grant's vocals which are reminiscent of Keb Mo and Milton Nascimento. Into this mix Grant masterfully weaves archival spoken word excerpts from historical figures like Gandhi, JFK, FDR, Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.
Pianist (and college professor) Darrell Grant's social-mindedness is at full sail on the double-disc Truth and Reconciliation, a suite-like work that employs sound bytes by Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin D. Roosevelt to promote humanism and civil liberties and commemorate the end of apartheid. But if these themes are heavy, this Portland, WA artist's music couldn't be lighter on its feet. A likable young veteran of the hard-bop movement, Grant is an engaging tunesmith whose playing is lyrical but forceful and whose pop-style singing voice (limited to a few tracks) is natural and relaxed. Varying his instrumental settings, he makes the most of a stellar lineup including bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade (recently heard together in the employ of Wayne Shorter), two very different guitarists in Bill Frisell and Adam Rogers, saxophonist Steve Wilson, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. The material ranges from blues- and gospel-touched originals by the pianist, a jazzworthy reading of Sting's "King of Pain," and a song by his old boss, Betty Carter. --Lloyd Sachs