ORIGINAL WORKS OF ART, the debut album from tenor saxophonist Art Grider, is best described in one word - BLUESIFUSIFUNKABOSSABALLADACIOUS!! All of the songs on this album are original compositions and reflect the nature of Art and his group, funky yet firmly rooted in postbop to fusion jazz styles. Art counts Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane as his major influences.
Anchored by a strong rhythm section (bass-Chris Enghauser, drums-Chris Hood, keyboards-Tracy Reynolds) the album erupts into a smorgasbord of delicious sounds and delectable rhythms sure to make you smile and help carry you through the day. Greg Clinton (guitar, flute) provides awesome comping and solo work. Pat Strawser adds to the mix with some smooth organ comping as well. And as if this isn't enough, Michael Westbrook and Pat elevate the spirit of this album to new heights with their own compositions (Michael - Westbrook Shuffle; Pat - Sea of Dreams). Michael also takes over the guitar responsibilities in his composition while Greg switches to flute. The result - AMAZING!!!
Art Grider is a muscian with a split personality (his day job is as an associate professor of nutritional biochemistry at a major research university) who has played behind the scenes with various church bands around the country. Here he is playing with his bandmates from ZamarAthens, a band that has performed as a part of the Blue Sky Concert Series on College Square in Athens, GA, in Borders Bookstore, and at various weddings and parties in the Athens, GA area. Art has also been featured on the guitarist Greg Clinton’s album, Essays and Contemplations (track 3: Interplanetary Jam).
Reviewed in the Athens, GA, magazine, The Flagpole.
(originally published October 25, 2006)
Local sax man Art Grider honks, wheezes and wails all over this, his cheekily-titled debut album, while an enlisted band of locals brings up the rear. Grider specializes in what could be referred to as extremely funky jazz fusion that calls upon the spirits of influential biggies like Stan Getz, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman.
Grider's bellowing tenor sax is joined by guitarists Greg Clinton and Michael Westbrook, bassist Chris Enghauser, pianist Tracy Reynolds, organist Pat Strawser and drummer Chris Wood. The eclectic backing band - Wood is the drummer for Southern rap/ rock band Rehab, Reynolds is the music minister at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church and Westbrook is a jazz studies major at Georgia State - suits Grider's style well from the slick fusion of "ZJAM" to the Strawser-penned exploration "Sea of Dreams."
Grider, also familiar as a longtime UGA biochem professor, has been making music for some time, mostly with church bands and occasional sit-ins with local groups. Original Works of Art shows the man also knows his abstract jazz and tightly-wound funk like big carbon knows the two little oxygens, gloriously extended notes and all.