The Spinners

♪ Idle Moments (Grant Green, 1963) ♪

In American, Blues, Jazz, Rex Baylon, Track Reviews on January 31, 2010 at 1:41 pm

During his heyday, jazz guitarist Grant Green had no equal whenever he picked up his instrument. Admittedly a fan of  fellow musician Wes Montgomery, Grant’s playing, however, is more directly linked to the bebop compositions of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. A cursory listen to any Grant Green track will reveal a style heavily indebted to the blues, especially to the sound closely associated with swing guitarist Charlie Christian.

His most famous composition, “Idle Moments”, is a jazz masterpiece that perfectly blends the rhythmic twelve-bar simplicity of the blues and the harmonic improvisations of hard bop. The track, clocking in at 15 minutes, is an ode to the late night shuffle. Grant’s languid guitar-playing recalls bleary drunken nights spent stumbling down unfamiliar side streets and alleyways. The warm tones of Duke Pearson’s piano and the spare ethereal tingle of Bobby Hutcherson’s vibraphone give the composition a subdued romantic feeling.

One can’t help being enveloped in the tune’s melody, which seems to loop like a drunken memory. With each repetition a new layer is added to the piece and the melody becomes slightly more complicated. The track isn’t too cerebral although it has a rather relaxing effect that synchs the listener to the rhythm of nightfall. To put it simply: if the evening were to have a soundtrack, then Grant Green’s “Idle Moments” would be playing till closing time. That’s for sure.

– Rex Baylon

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