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Grainger: Phase II

On their second full-album collaborative, Phase II (GBM) the individually renowned brothers Gary and Greg Grainger play elastic, energetic funk highlighting rhythmic gymnastics. For listeners this means a lot of the good stuff: gleeful drums and percussion from Greg, and twisting bass work from Gary. The brothers make way for John Scofield on the jumping jazz of “Sco Sco Swing,” with a theme like a wicked twist on “Deck the Halls,” and highlight the crazed sax work of Gary Thomas on the knuckling, Latin-derived party tune “Phase II,” for example. Though there are overthought moments like the feathery, slow-paced ballad “Always Love,” with its grossly mannered vocal read, for the most part the Graingers play it straight, faring best in stripped down settings. Where “Coconut Essence” is a twisted tropical treat marked by bass stings and prickly guitar, “Get Up” has an old-soul, strutting cool, drawn in Gary’s souped-up bass line, Dan Reynolds’ energized piano work and Marshall Keys’ pointed, sly sax work.

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