1995 (Criss Cross Jazz)

New Bop
By Darrell Quintet Grant

The New Bop, a sparkling, energetic followup to Darrell Grant’s auspicious debut CD on Criss Cross—Black Art—charted a distinctly 90’s course for the classic hard bop sound. Joined by four of the young generation’s brightest, trumpeter Scott Wendholdt, saxophonist Seamus Blake, drummer Brian Blade, and bassist Calvin Jones, Grant evokes the spirit of a rich quintet lineage. Drawing on the legacy of bebop and blues, he infuses The New Bop with his unique fire and joie de vivre. “For me,” Darrell says, “bop is about personal expression, about having the courage to take chances, about challenging yourself, playing real fast, playing hard changes, and being adventurous. It is about funkiness, looseness, grooving hard, and seizing the freedom to explore all sides.”

Grant’s inventive composition skills are highlighted in eight originals on the recording. From the resonant title tune to the hard bopping “Gettin’ Mean with Mateen,” the North-African tinged “Struttin to Tangiers,” and the essential element suite “Water Dreams,” Grant’s tunes capture a high level of communication and interplay. Also included on the CD are the beautiful George Cables piece “Lullabye,” a trio treatment of Monk’s “Coming on the Hudson,” and a soulful arrangement of Ellington’s “Come Sunday.” On hearing The New Bop, legendary hard bop pianist Horace Silver called Darrell "a musician worthy of some serious listening. He is a very fine pianist and composer. His sidemen are taking care of business also. This is an album I will listen to many times."

A GIFTED PIANIST AND A WONDERFULLY INVENTIVE COMPOSER. . . In his melodic solos Grant punctuates long, cascading keyboard runs with quick contrapuntal stabs that provide dynamic color and extend the solo’s creative life. Grant has transcended his influences to command a singular piano voice.
— Binghamton Press Sun-Bulletin