Mr. Grossman’s Novella is a Classic
The latest release from Mr. Grossman isn’t an LP. It’s not a single, a maxi-single, nor an EP.
It’s a mini-album. And it’s entitled, appropriately enough, Novella.
The last time an artist cranked out a novella (as far as this reviewer can recollect), he blew nationwide. That ‘he’ would be Maxwell, with his debut offering, Urban Hang Suite.
So, you see the title of Grossman’s project, denote that it’s a mini-album, and what’s the first track he hits you with?
Something you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking was Max himself, returned to his Suite.
“Any Taker”, the leadoff single from Grossman’s project, is just that compelling. It’s creative. And it is, for the most part, something trill. Money gets it going with the strings Yukmouth launched his Godzilla album and song with. Only this time, someone (quite likely Grossman) is actually playing them, for about a full minute.
Chamber music? Not once he drops, simultaneously, a beating ass bass line and the Dolby percussion that eschews snares, has an ethnic flare, and makes the tune start and stop, limping along like any righteous pimp strutting out his caddy mack.
All of that, of course, could have been played by Max’s band Musze (but it wasn’t; it was played by Grossman). But when you hear the feathery high notes that vocalist Chana Matthews floats over the track, you would swear you’ve gone back in time, or forward, to when Max was or is on the mic. Those familiar with his music know that’s a supreme compliment, and as worthy a track as anyone can find these days.
The best follow-up on this project is undoubtedly “Up To Me”. The drums on here are magnificent, particularly for the first minute or so in which there’s some sort of break beat driven (or maybe just inspired) drumming that’s well in motion, yet tamed by live piano chords—which were likely sequenced—and a delicious vocal sample.
Before long the drums switch up to a clean rim shot, a much more normal drum pattern, and a touch or two of bass. But those piano chords are still making it happen, while the vocalist predominantly sings in a lower, “natural” voice.
Such is the way this novella opens and closes. It certainly merits a good read, as much as it does a thorough listen.