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Grainger: Phase I

Grainger is the new duo moniker for brothers Gary (basses, keyboards) and Gregory (drums & percussion), two talented and highly traveled musicians whose combined talents result in Phase I (GBM GBM-9611; 74:18), which is, for the most part, a surprisingly ordinary pop/R&B effort. There are plenty of pleasing, keyboard-driven grooves (the sparkling “Groove On” and a sanitized funk read of Stevie Wonder’s “Creepin'”) which are listenable, but not distinguishingly memorable. There are also a number of cold-programmed semi-hip hop tracks (“Shine Your Light,” “Cruise’n”) to wade through. The problem may be the sheer length of the album, for buried in the middle are the gems which truly show the Grainger brothers’ skills: “Phase I,” a bright and busy fusion piece; “Mantis,” the album’s funkiest track, which pings, pops and jumps about on Gary’s basses; and “Cold Lover,” an off-kilter, bluesy strut. This fine mini-set shows why the brothers’ pairing is a good idea. Unfortunately, these treasures are easily lost in all of the packing materials.

Originally Published