There’s no need for debate, folks; Robert Miller is one of the most respected musicians in his scene, and in the new record by his band Project Grand Slam, he gives us what could be his most profoundly poetic work yet. Titled PGS 7, the latest album from Project Grand Slam is, for all intents and purposes, an amalgamation of over a decade’s worth of creative cultivation, studious musicianship and erudite lessons learned on stage and in the studio, and though I have been following this group for a long time now, I don’t know that anything could have prepared me for the caliber of content this 13-track odyssey contains.
The percussion is light and breezy in “Yeah Yeah,” the shifty “At Midnight” and the cover of “The ‘In’ Crowd,” but it contributes to the artistic narrative of the album nonetheless. From sexuality to self-awareness, singer Ziarra Washington doesn’t shy away from any subject matter in this record, with her most provocative moment coming in the climactic “Tree of Life,” and she holds nothing back in every track she participates in. Instrumentals “Torpedo of Love” and “Funk Latino” don’t suffer without her, but actually bridge the acts in PGS 7 in a symphonically-stylized mashup of melodies.
PGS 7 is much more progressive than Trippin’ was, but it stops short of being campy and conceptual where it counts the most. “Python,” “Get Out” and “With You” have the vibe of a triplet medley that was never supposed to be broken up in the first place, but they don’t feel completely tethered to each other in terms of construction. I’ve been itching to see this band in-person since first getting my hands on Greetings from Serbia, and I’m nowhere even close to kidding when I say that this tracklist could easily be translated into a live album in its own right. There’s no arguing that it has the required bones, and even when taking into account its top shelf production value, if there’s anyone who doesn’t need a mightily polished master mix to make a big impression, it’s Project Grand Slam.
There’s nothing about PGS 7 that reminds me of pop’s storied past or this group’s predecessors both in rock n’ roll or jazz, but I wouldn’t say that it becomes so in love with its own unique identity that it devolves into unnecessary decadence. “I Don’t Know Why,” “Redemption Road” and “No One’s Fool” are classically cut and dry in the style of what we heard on The PGS Experience, and while “Funk Latino” and “Get Out” flirt with surrealism, they never take us beyond the boundaries of general accessibility.
Just when I thought I had heard it all from Project Grand Slam, Robert Miller and company come and lay this masterpiece on me like they’re fixing breakfast in the morning. There’s the standard jazz juking that makes “Take Me,” “At Midnight” and “Yeah Yeah” the primal war cries that everyone loves in a Robert Miller LP, but there’s also a minimalist expressionism to Ziarra Washington’s “Tree of Life” and “With You” that I simply must hear more of in the future. I’ll be keeping up with these characters as time goes on, and I highly recommend you do the same.
by Bethany Page
The music of Project Grand Slam has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here – http://www.daniecorteseent.com/