Reviews of “The Rescue”
Project Grand Slam – The Rescue
Bandleader and bassist extraordinaire Robert Miller has guided the fortunes of his New York based outfit, Project Grand Slam, into garnering one of the most impressive live pedigrees in popular music today. The band has commanded the stages at some of the nation’s most respected live venues like New York City’s The Blue Note, the Manhattan Center, and the Iridium. Their talents have earned them opening spots for multiple Grammy award winning and multi-platinum artists, but their studio accomplishments are equally prodigious. Miller’s influences are wide ranging, including a tremendous affection for fusion jazz from the 1970’s, but while he doesn’t bring that mode to bear on the band’s latest single “The Rescue”, everything Miller touches is infused with the same inspiration and daring that initially fired him as a young musician. This immaculately produced affair sparkles from first note to last with warm, robust attention to detail and a firm balance between the song’s competing textual elements.
There’s never any sense of the song lacking thanks to its instrumental status. Instead, the superb melodic strength of the instrumental voices, particularly brass and guitar, make the lack of a singer a non-issue. The guitar work strikes a startling balance between flash and understatement while the brass vocalizes over the top with a lot of fluency and verve. There are certainly faster tempos, but “The Rescue” pulses with a palpable sense of urgency from the first notes on. The best music always has a quality of musicians playing for their lives with a wide open sense of possibility and joy and the arrangement and execution of this track wholly embodies that ideal. It’s nothing short of slightly astonishing how much attack and edge the band capably deliver in such a recognizable vehicle.
Miller’s bass playing is the musical center. He’s never merely running scales in counterpoint to the other instrumentalists. Instead, he juggles serving the song while still pulling it forward with the sheer focus and will of his bass playing. Miller vigorously pursues lines to their conclusion while never laying on too many notes and thus depriving the music of room to breathe. Virtuoso talents walk a careful line. Their playing can dominate a track and wow listeners with its technical skill, but such performances are rarely remembered. The players who find their own way to shine within the existing confines of a performance and concentrate on connecting with their audience are the performances we collectively remember.
Project Grand Slam’s forthcoming studio album promises to be a doozy. As the first single reveals, this musical outfit continues maturing into a fluid articulation of various styles with a common reference point. Listeners are placed in the loving hands of virtuosos and they carry off their mandate beautifully and with great aplomb. Robert Miller and his cohorts in Project Grand Slam will wow many with this song and it promises even more greatness to come.
Indie Artists Alliance
Project Grand Slam – The Rescue
Robert Miller and Project Grand Slam know how to bring it together. The effortless sound of their latest single “The Rescue” previews their forthcoming full length release The Queen’s Carnival with such confidence and off the cuff ease that you’d be tempted to believe the band rolls out of bed in the morning and creates such mini masterpieces with ease. No one who knows music believes that. The astonishing excellence of a song like “The Rescue” comes from the countless years that Miller and his collaborators have put into honing their musical skills and the innate talents that Fate sought to bestow upon them individually. Another crucial part of this puzzle is their instinct for presenting their creations in such a way that fully realizes their sonic potential. “The Rescue “simply couldn’t be produced any better – there is such absolute resonance between each of the instruments and they are woven together with such tasteful precision that it is scarcely possible to imagine improvement. This is, again, the product of a superior talent. In this case, however, it isn’t a singular superior talent – while bassist Robert Miller is certainly a master of his chosen instrument, the surrounding players on this song more than hold their own and shares his vision for Project Grand Slam’s music.
Guitar blasts away to open the track, but the band quickly establishes a full throated groove including brass, organ, percussion, and bass. It’s played well in the pocket and the swing Project Grand Slam strikes from the beginning is physically impossible to ignore. Toe-tappers? Nod your head along to the song? “The Rescue” will appeal to you immediately. The various musical elements are brought together with lean economy, none placed over another, and the band’s sharp ear for synthesizing these elements plays an enormous part in the song’s ultimate success. They emphasize the tasteful approach throughout and never burden their performance with cluttered instrumental passages or an inexplicable desire to hog the listener’s attention for themselves. Instead, they play in accord with one another and obviously listen to the path they take.
The drumming and bass playing provide the necessary ballast, while the lead instruments do an excellent job balancing the direct and counterpointing melodies. The song never overstays its welcome and Project Grand Slam concludes the song in rousing fashion without ever conforming too much about listener’s possible expectations in that area. It is refreshing to hear a band so successfully combine an aesthetics first approach with a gleeful, romping approach to attacking a song arrangement for everything its worth. The attitude results in constantly fulfilling moments, a satisfying and enduring tribute to their skill and it’s earned them a place of great respect in the popular music community. Songs like “The Rescue” are the best possible evidence for why Grammy award winning and widely popular artists have enlisted their services as an opening act. Make no mistake however – Project Grand Slam are no one’s warm up band. They are titanic talents and their continued rise is inevitable.
Stylistically blending jazz and funk into a satisfying whole, Project Grand Slam’s The Rescue is a radiant joy! Chock full of energy the thing sings so sweetly. Without saying a word an entire narrative is formed. The chops displayed throughout the song are quite impressive from the taut guitar riffs to the luxurious saxophone to the expressive keyboards. Project Grand Slam lets each of these instruments take up the center stage as they shift from solo to solo, showing off the playful nature of the piece as each has their own take on the track’s main theme. By doing this Project Grand Slam presents a song that positively bursts with a celebratory spirit. Jumping right into it the groove starts off quite hot. Everything feels perfectly placed from the giddy percussion to the glistening keyboards that help to anchor the rhythm. Throughout it all the saxophone takes center stage as it careens with great abandon, letting distortion and other elements give it shape. Upon dropping out for a brief bit the guitar shows off its incredible soloing as the saxophone flirts with the overall mood of the piece. For the final solo the keyboard gets a little attention as it allows the song to take a lounge-like melody to grow ever larger and larger. Once everything is tied together the piece follows effortlessly with the saxophone reemerging for the last few moments. Project Grand Slam’s “The Rescue” is an infinitely catchy, all-engrossing piece, one that presents a dazzling display of color.
Project Grand Slam new single ‘The Rescue’
One of our favorite groups Project Grand Slam just released a new single and music video entitled ‘The Rescue’. The New York Jazz-Rock fusion band lead by bassist/composer Robert Miller has a new album coming out August 19th, and this is the first single to be released from it. The official release date for the single is July 1st.
The intro riff to ‘The Rescue’ immediately grabs a hold of you and you begin to feel the groove. The song is instrumental, but you don’t need lyrics when the music speaks to you. Robert Miller said this song didn’t necessarily start out this way, he was originally inspired by Cream’s song ‘Crossroads’ (one of his all time favorite songs, and ours) then throughout the writing/jamming process the song became this funky little gem it is now. Let the song rescue you from your day and enjoy!
Project Grand Slam – The Rescue
While bassist and bandleader Robert Miller is known as a high-minded jazz afficianado and one of the best players in the genre today, his influences span much wider. The British Invasion had a pivotal effect on his musical education, like it did with so many other young men and women at the time, and provided much of the initial spark that pushed Miller into pursuing bass guitar. Listeners can hear a lot of the same timeless, youthful passion on Project Grand Slam’s latest single, “The Rescue”. The song never risks self-indulgence and, while it chases after familiar ends musically, it does so with rare style and deceptive sophistication. The cliché about a band playing tightly together is no cliché here. Project Grand Slam are aptly named – every outing from this band steams ahead and over listeners with tremendous skill and power.
The song is aptly titled as well. It is surging from the outset, embodying the urgency of the title with every bit of the commitment it deserves. The rhythm section, particularly Miller’s bass playing, certainly clears the way for the rest of the band, but the guitars, organ, and brass instruments ably respond to the tempo. The guitar work carries ample bite without ever attempting to overtake the proceedings and the restraint illustrates a fundamental lesson. It isn’t the notes you play, it’s the ones you don’t. Taste is paramount. The members of Project Grand Slam aren’t out to prove anything on this song except that they intend on fulfilling the composition’s potential and providing their audiences with the best possible performance.
The organ is an unexpected and thrilling touch. The instrument has largely fallen out of favor in modern music, but its potential for added new textures and rounding out the sound still makes it one of the most unique voices in popular music. The song is primarily led by the horn and guitar work with the six string acting largely as support or counterpoint. The brass soars with wildly enthusiastic melodies, but knows when to pull back on the reins and concentrate on conveying meaning through melody. It is certainly the strongest musical embodiment of the song title – the rising and falling captures the thrilling implications of a rescue without ever belaboring its point.
Project Grand Slam’s opening single to their forthcoming new album is reliably inventive, distinctive, and works solidly within established traditions without ever being beholden to them. Miller and his collaborators are expert at bringing together a melting pot of influences, filtering them through their individual consciousness, and producing memorable modern renderings of classic musical formulas. This is far from imitative. It is exactly what genres like jazz, blues, and other forms require for continued relevancy in the 21st century.
Robert Miller, the band’s artistic visionary, sounds like he is coming home again, in certain respects. If there was a day when his primary aim was to impress people with his bass playing, that day has long passed. Project Grand Slam isn’t the work of callow youth, yearning for approval, but rather a labor of love infused with a singular sense of purpose.
Project Grand Slam – The Rescue
New York City has, naturally, produced a bevy of individual and group talents in popular music. One of two centers for the music industry in North America, the other being Los Angeles, the nation’s largest metropolitan area in the United States has traditionally been the home for cutting edge jazz and R&B influenced acts. Bassist Robert Miller can be included in the ranks of the giants who’ve made this reputation possible. As leader of the outfit Project Grand Slam, Miller has grown a unit capable of tremendous musical peaks and fearless invention. Their stylistic range is wide. Ultimately, they sound like a spectacularly conceived clearing house for the most American of musical forms, and their expression of jazz, funk, R&B, and blues even makes room under its tent for rock and roll attitude and a beaming sense of fun. This isn’t morose music. Project Grand Slam might have titled their latest effort “The Rescue”, but the new single bristles and sparks with unusual energy. The band’s invocation of traditional forms is far from reverent.
The brio they bring comes through in the first seconds. Forceful guitar playing opens things and the band is off, speeding along with a tangible sense of restraint, yet a clear-eyed sense of the limits they can explore. “The Rescue” is an immaculately arranged piece. There isn’t a single passage that sounds out of place and the performance unfolds with a comforting inevitability that hits all the right notes for experienced music devotees. Novices will find the song equally entertaining. Despite the pedigree of the band’s individual players, the track has a pronounced accessibility that will easily draw many in and leave them with a smile plastered across their faces by the song’s conclusion.
The song’s individual instrumental parts all shine. The guitar work runs from heavily influenced funk passages over to other bruising moments when an outright rock spirit punches through. The rhythm section work is remarkably powerful, but never bulldozes listeners. Bass and drums lock into a seamless dance featuring a number of surprising and rhythmically exciting variations. Organ makes an appearance as well and pours a smattering of octane on an already blazing fire. The added flair from inspired inclusions like this help push an already great song over the top, but the song’s crowning grace comes from the use of brass. The horn playing has a commanding touch that helps the song sing with every ounce of the facility and passion even the best vocalist could have brought to a possible lyric.
Project Grand Slam deserves mentioning as among the best musical acts produced by American culture in the last quarter century. Their body of work isn’t yet extensive, but the quality has been at a level suggesting much more than mere entertaining is guiding the day, but legacy building. Few outfits bring such a commitment to exploring musical possibilities and capturing an audience in the palm of their hands. With “The Rescue”, Project Grand Slam accomplishes both feats with ease.
Indie Music Reviews
Project Grand Slam – The Rescue
The melodic and musical sophistication of Project Grand Slam helps them standout even in a relatively small field of similarly geared bands. These are musicians with daring and the good sense to use their daring in imaginative ways. The band’s output has been distinguished from its formation by an obvious commitment to crafting entertaining, yet musically rich, material that honors the past and presents an uniquely personal face. While Robert Miller can certainly lay claim to ranking among the world’s best bass players, he clearly works hard and surrounds himself with like-minded musicians concerned, first and foremost, with structuring the material in a compelling fashion and never risking self-indulgence. His supporting cast is every bit as skilled and help him create a fantastic song with “The Rescue”.
The song is one part relentless blues boogie with strains of fusion, R&B, funk, and even a smattering of rock bleeding through. The band sets an impressive pace from the beginning and their sure-footed interplay, with Miller’s bass giving everything a sturdy and melodically superior spine, sounds convinced from the opening and never loses its way. Few, if any, listeners will bemoan the song’s instrumental status and lack of vocals thanks to the assertive and intensely varied approach taken by the brass. The guitar work provides able support, but it flares to life occasionally with vivid fills and a stirring sense of attack that gives the track added energy.
Project Grand Slam understands that song length is an important component in its success. “The Rescue” stays on track from the beginning, focusing on what is essential and foregoing the rest, and this sort of approach is the natural product of outstanding musicians who know what matters. There are no egos here. Instead, Project Grand Slam personifies in a vivid way what the term “band” ideally means – a collaborative artistic venture where skilled artisans are working together to achieve the same end. On “The Rescue”, there’s never a second when the band’s unified approach is doubtful.
Some of the song’s musical highlights arrive by surprise. The inclusion of memorable, but never overwrought, organ peppers the song with a flavorful retro sound. It sharpens the edges of the arrangement as well, doubling the guitars with its meaty musical voice, and further rounding off the sound. Another of the defining qualities setting this song apart is its rambunctiousness and few parts of “The Rescue” better illustrate that than the organ playing. As they pull from various schools of musical thought to shape their sound, Project Grand Slam is likewise unafraid to tamper with their formulas to achieve idiosyncratic ends.
They have opened for national and globally respected headliners and graced the stages of some of the country’s best concert venues. Project Grand Slam has earned plaudits from every quarter thanks to their singular talents and their capacity for reinvention. Everything feels new again in a Project Grand Slam song and their obvious enthusiasm makes their talents all the more memorable.