Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I was probably about 16 years old listening to XM's Watercolors in my dad's 'old' Jetta. On a rainy night, the prominent fretless bass of something I quickly adhered to from Dave Grusin's cover of Ronnie Laws' Friends And Strangers came on and I was mesmerized. The cool Rhodes reminded me of Bob James' Westchester Lady, one of my earliest contemporary jazz favorites on drives home on I-95, along with Chuck Mangione's radio standard Feels So Good. Haven't heard that on the radio in ages... I guess John Mayer, One Direction and Lady Gaga are more popular on that 'Lite' station now...

What's the DIGITAL MASTER anyway? 

I started this site as a project dedicated to the founders' Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen's GRP label, a label which pioneered a promise to high-quality jazz-fusion in an exclusively digital recording philosophy. It seems while the label has touched many, GRP has been much dismissed by genre purists and snobs who, at times with kernels of truth, refer to GRP as the smooth jazz progenitor and 'jazz-lite' label for the Sunday Brunch crowd.

OK, some of that may be true. 

I don't love the entire GRP catalog, but I'm not here to draw its faults. Instead, I want to focus on how influential GRP is and how its legacy has remained strong all these years by celebrating its vibrant catalog. Though GRP still exists today, its only a shadow of its former self after the 'GR' left the 'P', the label launched many greats and believed in them as well. 

Most importantly, Mr. Dave Grusin, who in large part established GRP, is a composer, arranger, producer and master class of the piano (and very early on, many synthesizers and Rhodes). His passion and belief in not only modern jazz and eyeing talent but also delivering it in the highest presentable fashion (on compact disc before the dawn of the consumable media) was unheard of. I'm sure it wasn't easy in the beginning though GRP's goal quickly became a headline in 'commercial' jazz, jazz artists never look to make it as easy as Billboard Pop-Rocks. GRP's vision was from this passion, an honest label for jazz, music lovers and audiophiles. 

I noticed apart from Amazon.com and some here-and-there jazz 'zines, there's no place nor individual who's discussing GRP or any other jazz. Mainly, I wanted to have a forum and haven for contemporary jazz-fusion enthusiasts to share ideas in addition to my own.

I've been a fan of many kinds of jazz for most of my life and now I'm delving into GRP's extensive catalog and it has already introduced me to hundreds of melodies and artists I've not heard before. But I'm not going to focus solely on GRP, I'll be looking at anything that crosses my path whether it be what I find in a thrift store, f.y.e., internet-obtained or a small town music shop. 

So yes, most of what you see here are my own CDs, almost all second-hand, GRP has an extensive list of CDs that were never reprinted in almost 25 years under the current leadership. Many of them still sound excellent but may need some current technological attention. After all, most of these are mastered to decades old standards. Some of these were found randomly and some obtained through curiousity. There's a small exception you may find -- if it's highly unattainable or only in vinyl, generously passed on by another, I may discuss it.

So please, with coffee (or tea) in hand, enjoy THE DIGITAL MASTER and welcome.