Combining drum n’bass and techno grooves is not a new thing in jazz, Herbie Hancock and groups like Boomish have been doing it very well for years. I believe Leo Tardin’s instrumentation of keyboards and drums is just perfect for expressing his compositions. Much of the album was recorded in real time, occasionally looping a bass groove on his moog and playing a fender Rhodes or acoustic piano over it. The interaction between the two instruments pans out nicely throughout the entire album. Driven by Jojo’s intrinsic grooves, each track could easy fit in at both your local dance club or jazz venue. Some of the highlights are the tracks Starlight and Freestyle Figures. But when working in a new genre such as this it leaves much room for greater development and exploration. There were a few tracks that I felt Leo could of developed more compositionally. The techno beats are fantastic, but many times I would of liked to have heard his melodies and motives developed more. Two of the finer compositions on the album, the ones I feel Leo did develop more, do not use Jojo but Ferenc Nemeth on drums. The Walk and The Space Race do a great job of blending techno funk with jazz sensitivities.
Overall Grand Pianoramax is a great start for this new group and should be a must have for any Jojo Mayer or drum n’bass enthusiast. It has something that will appeal to the jazz fan and the funky techno head in all of us.