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Album Review: Sipping Beauty
Tom Grant
Cover image of the album Sipping Beauty by Tom Grant
Sipping Beauty
Tom Grant
2017 / Nu-Wrinkle
59 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Sipping Beauty is pianist/composer Tom Grant’s twenty-sixth album, and I hate to admit that it’s the first one I have heard all the way through. One of the founders of the smooth jazz movement and a native Oregonian, Grant’s career has spanned well over forty years and he isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. This album and his 2015 release, The Light Inside My Dream, have gone in a somewhat different direction, residing somewhere in the gray area between smooth jazz and new age with a touch of pop thrown in here and there. The liner notes say that this music “is as complimentary for the healing arts as for dinner with friends or a sensual evening with one's beloved.” It is music that slips easily into the background, but is rich and complex enough to bear repeated listens with full attention or for getting lost in while relaxing. Warm and gently uplifting, this is an album that can raise your spirits, chill your stress, and will just generally make you feel good. In addition to the piano, Grant can be heard on percussion and “various sounds synthetic and natural”; David Captein appears on bass on two tracks and on sitar on another; Kevin Karrick plays guitar on four tracks.

Sipping Beauty begins with “Petrichor Perfume,” a hypnotic piece with an exotic, gently-swaying rhythm. Piano, guitar, and percussion create a pleasantly intoxicating state not unlike that of petrichor, the distinctive smell that often comes with the first rain after a long dry spell. “Sun-Kissed Beings” has a warm, tropical feeling that brings visions of snoozing on the beach (and not getting sun-burned!), soaking up the warm, soothing sunshine. The title track is very free and almost ambient with piano, keyboard, and wordless vocals that gently shimmer with iridescent colors. “Sighs ’n’ Whispers” has the relaxed tempo of a slow, romantic dance and a beautiful, calming melody. Bass, piano, percussion and wordless vocals make musical magic. “Arms Wide Open” would be a wonderful movie theme. Poignant and bittersweet while rhythmically moving forward, this piece defies any genre classification and is my favorite on the album. Kevin Karrick and his guitar really shine on “Desire Unspoken,” a gorgeous love song that includes piano, light orchestration and light percussion - also a favorite. “Moondrops” may be the most “new age” of the ten tracks. Its catchy keyboard rhythm, piano, sitar, and various atmospheric sounds make it somewhat spacey and ethereal yet grounded - I really like this one, too! Karrick returns on the sublime closing track, “Where Time Disappears.” The gentle rhythm prevents this ethereal piece from slipping into ambient territory - not that there is anything wrong with that! It’s a beautiful close to an outstanding album!

Believe me, I will be getting my hands on some more of Tom Grant’s previous albums as I can hear what I’ve been missing! Sipping Beauty is available from www.TomGrant.com, Amazon and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
March 25, 2017
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