Keyboardist Don Grusin shines with this audiophiles dream recording on his latest music excursion titled “The Hang”. Grusin’s The Hang is a  LiveCD (that’s also available on DVD) by Grusin that’s been Grammy nominated for the best contemporary jazz recording for 2004 and deservedly so. The youngest of brothers Grusin, Don putts the “J” back into contemporary jazz with “The Hang” he’s enlisted some of today’s first call players to record music that’s reflective of his personality. 

The Players: Alex Acuna, Patti Austin, Charlie Bisharat, Nathan East, Pete Escovedo, Dave Grusin, Abraham Laboriel, Harvey Mason, Phil Perry, Frank Quintero, Nelson Rangell, Natali Rene, Lee Ritenour, Oscar Seaton, Ricardo Silveria, Sadao Watanabe and Ernie Watts. © 2004 Sovereign Artists 

As in any recording session the opening track is critical and do believe me “Let’s Not Talk About It” delivers the goods grabbing your attention immediately with power and conviction from the very first note. Don doesn’t hesitate tapping into the fabric of other cultures musically case in point here, “Makossa Beat” embodies the musical treasures of South Africa with Grusin eloquently works the keys and violinist Charlie Bisharat is reflective in his solo invites drummer Oscar Seaton along for the journey as he kicks in gear illustrating why he’s extremely in high demand in the recording industry. 

Next up, Don borrows “She Could Be Mine” from brother Dave’s collection of songs, and of course Don couldn’t help call upon Dave is put his touch to this classic making it a worthwhile addition to “The Hang”. A timely percussive groove with violinist Bisharat solo opens on Patti Austin’sWait For Me”. Patti’s sassy vocalesse draws you into this delicious and very satisfying place of familiarity. Don takes us mysterious spin with a taste of Brazil inviting you to take dive into the infectious “Floridita” that features the talents of Nelson Rangell, Charlie Bisharat, Seaton an a cast of others making this an exuberant musical experience to dwell in. 

The track “Number 8” falls into the seventh position on “The Hang” features veteran reedman Ernie Watts as he swings skillfully with authority on this compelling sonic masterpiece. Again drummer Seaton steps in adapting with ease keeping time with the expertise of a veteran jazzman. On any recording that features guitarist Lee Ritenour at some point vocalist Phil Perry will find his way front and center at the mike, this time around on a track called “Woman”. Phil’s captivating voice delivers the warmth and sensitivity that you’ve come expect from his enchanting voice. 

In the ninth spot is a cut entitled  Chaser”. Chaser symbolizes the near perfect characteristics of what a contemporary jazz composition should resemble, it’s tight, it grooves, swings with engaging solos that can only bring a smile to your face. Vocalist Natali Rene brings a pop flavor to the set on The Hang with “Fresh Air”, she reminds me somewhat of Brazilian vocalists Kevyn Latteau. Don drives the groove into syncopated rhythm with “Catwalk” calling upon his artistic mates Watts and Bisharat to help cultivate the path with strength and assurance.    

At live performances solo selections are a given (or should be), “Road Town” is no exception. Grusin runs chords and scales effortlessly; the 5.01 surround sound recording takes this listening experience to another level musically and sonically. Don’s time in the woodshed has definitely paid off on this selection.  Ms. Patti Austin returns to the set with her tantalizing vocal prowess on  Oo-Whee the Carnival” from her 1990 recording titled “Love is Gonna Getcha”.  

At the conclusion of “The Hang” featuring not only the talented fingers of Don Grusin but, the gang of extraordinary musicians with a finale called “She Feels Good” that features soloist vocals and instrumentalist as well. 

For those of you out there seeking contemporary jazz deemed worthy of your time, and monies please do yourself a favor and check out Don Grusin’sThe Hang”. After hearing it you will certainly want to add “The Hang” to your collection without hesitation. Enjoy!