Album Review: Mr. Grossman – ‘Novella’

Northern California musician Mr. Grossman recently released a short, four-track “mini album” – appropriately titled, Novella. So is this short offering enough of an attention-grabber?

Novella from Mr. Grossman Packs an Experimental Punch

For any listeners unfamiliar with Mr. Grossman’s body of work, it’s something that’s difficult to put in any one box. Meanwhile, the album opener, Any Takers, is a prime example of that.

Featuring Chana Matthews, the vocals shine over experimental instrumentation that combines elements of jazz and Latin rhythms. In addition, the walking bass line throughout carries the groove from start to finish.

Novella is Not Your Typical Listening Experience

As the follow-up track, Escape takes a turn into the realm of a ballad – with soothing piano as the star of the show. Meanwhile, Mr. Grossman’s vocals really come through with just a piano as accompaniment. If nothing else, this is a good showcase of range from one track to the next.

Indeed, this follow-up track is certainly a departure from the album opener. And even though it’s a good showcase of range, the drastic change in style may be too abrupt for some listeners still trying to grasp this record.

Mr. Grossman’s Novella May Be a Little Too Experimental for Some

As anyone familiar with Mr. Grossman’s work knows, he doesn’t limit himself to any one style or genre. And while that’s certainly something to be commended in terms of thinking outside the box and not being afraid to try new things, the listening experience as a whole can feel somewhat disjointed when each track sounds like it could be on a completely separate album.

If nothing else, what this album does as far as genre experimentation goes, it lacks when it comes to cohesion. And for that reason, Novella may not appeal to listeners looking for a more genre-specific listening experience.

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