Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Cannon Beach gazette. (Cannon Beach, Or.) 1977-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 11, 2019)
A4 • Friday, January 11, 2019 | Cannon Beach Gazette | CannonBeachGazette.com
Views from the Rock
A Q&A with jazz legend
Pianist Tom Grant is a long-
time leader on the Portland music
scene, an award-winning jazz and
New Age music star with an inter-
national audience. After graduating
from the University of Oregon, he
traveled to New York City in 1970
with Native American saxophonist
Jim Pepper. This led to Grant tour-
ing and recording with jazz greats
Woody Shaw, Charles Lloyd and
Tony Williams before launching
into his own decades-long experi-
ence as leader, recording artist and
mentor. He will be appearing at the
Astoria Golf and Country Club on
Feb. 2 with singer Shelly Rudolph.
We caught up with him at Bill’s Tav-
ern in Cannon Beach.
Q: Tell me about growing up in
Grant: I was born in 1946. My
dad’s name was Al Grant — his
original name was Abraham Gold-
baum. He was a drummer and
tap dancer in vaudeville. I started
on drums and tap-danced a little
myself when I was 4 or 5.
My older brother Michael
turned me on to all the hip s**t,
like Miles, Coltrane, Theloni-
ous Monk, Horace Silver, so I lis-
tened to all that stuff too. We both
took lessons from the same person,
Gene Confer. He was “the” guy
in Portland for jazz piano. I loved
him. He’d sit there and write out
a chart for you as fast as you and
I were writing a letter — melody,
chords, the whole thing.
Q: Your dad, Al Grant, owned
Madrona’s, a very famous record
store in Portland.
Grant: His record store was
heavily into R&B and jazz. It was
“the place.” For the time it was in
existence, from 1950 to 1964, it
was the main place to get jazz and
R&B in Oregon and beyond. It
was a scene. People danced in the
When I was 12 years old, I took
the bus downtown from Northeast
Portland. I’d go to a sci-ﬁ movie,
always knowing I’d go to my
dad’s store and get a ride home.
Q: When did you start playing
Grant: I went to Grant High
School in Portland. No relation.
(laughs). As I recall, we didn’t
have a jazz band, so everything I
did was outside the high school
My brother Michael and (saxo-
phonist) Jim Pepper were friends.
That’s how I got to know Pepper.
My ﬁ rst gig was at a place called
Q: Did your brother pursue
Grant: My brother was one
of the original Hare Krishnas. He
wasn’t just a follower. In the sum-
mer of love, 1967, he brought
the Hare Krishna movement out
to San Francisco, then to L.A.,
and then to London, where he
befriended the Beatles with this
spiritual message. George Harri-
son was the only one that stayed
with it. He was always considered
a Hare Krishna devotee.
Q: Were you interested in the
Hare Krishna movement?
Grant: I was ambivalent, but I
wasn’t really into it. There were a
lot of things about it I didn’t like.
Q: Did you go to college?
Grant: I studied political sci-
ence at the University of Oregon.
I left Portland in 1969 for L.A. to
be in a pop band called “Mercy.”
Then there was another band
called Mercy that had a big hit, so
we had to forget that name. Then
I came back, ﬁ nished school, ﬁ n-
ished college, got my degree, got a
masters. I taught political science
and social studies.
Q: You taught school?
Grant: I did a lot of teaching
in the ’70s, I had my own classes
in a small town in Oregon, Mill
City, then I came up to Portland,
and substituted in the days, and
then at night I was playing with
Jim Pepper, and then with my own
Q: You played with the great
jazz drummer Tony Williams.
How did that experience inﬂ uence
Grant: I was very much inﬂ u-
enced by the Tony Williams Expe-
rience. He could rock with the best
of them. Everything was possible
and nothing was impossible. He
taught me you didn’t need to be
locked in a style. “Don’t box your-
self in.” When I got the call to play
with him, I nearly died.
Q: What was your ﬁ rst break-
through as a leader?
Grant: In the ’70s, I estab-
lished my band in Portland, “Tom
Tom Grant celebrates his award-winning album “Sipping Beauty.”
TOM GRANT IN
Tom Grant and vocalist Shelly
Rudolph appear at the Astoria
Golf and Country Club on Satur-
day, Feb. 2. Their set highlights
an evening of music and ﬁ ne
dining, with an evening opening
performance by R.J. Marx and
John Orr. For tickets, go to
Tom Grant and Shelly Rudolph appear at the Astoria Country Club on Feb. 2.
Grant and Friends.” We played
fusion music. I had a record in
1983, “Tom Grant,” that got a
bunch of airplay. It charted. I was
playing electric (piano), then syn-
thesizer, but the acoustic piano
was my sound. Ironically, when
I toured with Tony, he hated me
playing acoustic piano. His com-
plaint was he couldn’t hear it.
This was before there was an
expression “smooth jazz.” My sub-
sequent records did pretty well.
Q: Did you continue to teach
Grant: (Portland drummer)
Ron Steen was a big inﬂ uence on
my whole career. He talked me
into leaving teaching high school
and coming up to Portland to
play. e nurtures young players like
crazy. (Bassist) Esperanza Spauld-
ing — I give him all the credit for
nurturing her career. (Trumpeter)
Chris Botti is another Ron Steen
protege. Chris is originally from
Corvallis,. He did all his growing
up playing jam sessions under the
tutelage of Ron Steen.
Q: When did your music begin
to be associated with the “smooth
Grant; Toward the late ’80s,
early ’90s, they started using the
expression smooth jazz. I was
“Mr. Smooth Jazz” for awhile. I
hated that. I never like to be boxed
in. So I’ve been ﬁ ghting it — to
The 2000s were when I was
trying to regain my status in
the smooth jazz world. I think I
was regretting the fact that I had
thumbed my nose at the smooth
Q: You won an award in 2017
for your album “Sipping Beauty.”
Zone Music Reporter, a web-
site tracking New Age, world, and
instrumental music gave it best
album for the “chill-groove” genre.
Grant: My last two records
were New Age-y relaxation
records. They did pretty well.
Q: Do you have a family?
Grant: I have one child, 49,
with two grand-kids. We’re close.
I also have a stepdaughter from
my second marriage. I’m not mar-
ried, but I may as well be. Her
name is Mary.
Q: Do you continue to tour?
Grant: I was just in Indonesia.
One of my records, a bootleg, was
a big hit in Indonesia.
Q: Have you played locally?
Grant: I’ve played at the
Coaster Theatre twice, with Shelly
Rudolph, We play standards, some
of my original stuff. She’s cool
and great to look at. We’re play-
ing at the Astoria Country Club on
Q: What do you like to do for
Grant: I do conditioning. Hot
yoga, bickram — I’ve done that
for 20 years.
Q: How do you see Oregon as a
place to nurture jazz talent?
Grant: For years we’ve had
some good big jazz festivals.
There’s a good program at Port-
land State University. Several of
the community colleges have good
established jazz players. Jazz is
very respectable around here.
I do a gig every Sunday night
in Vancouver (Washington) at a
little club there. We’re celebrat-
ing our 10th year, Tommy O’s, it’s
kind of a Hawaiian-themed place,
Tommy is a Hawaiian native, we
do a concert, then we do a jam
session. Jam sessions are big in
Q: What’s coming up for you?
Grant: Dinner, pretty soon.
Q: What is your advice to
Grant: Get a complete edu-
cation. Go into law or medicine.
(laughs). Follow your heart. Fol-
low your dream.
Cultivating a taste for ﬁ ne chocolate and macabre humor
Cannon Beach tourist
season is year-round
hristmas is over and you’d
think I’d had enough,
but as I was feeling res-
tive from an abundance of cook-
ing and cleaning, in an effort to
amuse me, last week, Mr. Sax,
my husband, offered to join me
for an hour or so playing tour-
ist. Growing up in an east coast
beach town, I know how easy it
is for full-time residents to grow
impatient, dare I say annoyed,
with tourists. Tourist season is a
year round thing in Cannon Beach
where winter visitors thrill about
making the pilgrimage to Hay-
stack Rock during low tide on
a windswept winter day before
heading back to their cozy vaca-
tion rental for a nostalgic evening
of board games.
TripSavvy, a tourism guide,
advocates winter visitors explore
Ecola State Park, hit the city’s
high quality art galleries, pay a
visit to the Cannon Beach History
Center and Museum, watch live
glass blowing at IceFire Glass-
works, or take in a play at the
Coaster Theater Playhouse.
My own favorite touristy thing
to do in Cannon Beach is enjoy
a Parisian-worthy hot chocolate
at the Chocolate Café. This place
is a gem; if hot chocolate isn’t
your thing, they make espresso
drinks and French-press coffee.
The main attraction is chocolate,
John D. Bruijn
Rex Amos/For Cannon Beach Gazette
By REX AMOS
For Cannon Beach Gazette
A great way to warm the soul in
One of the original illustrated novels by author Edward Gorey.
in particular trufﬂ es. The own-
ers have curated a variety of choc-
olates from around the world.
Something they persist in calling
a handmade milkshake is so thick
and creamy it’s indistinguishable
from ice cream. Forget the straw;
you must eat it with a spoon. The
foamy hot chocolate is made from
pure chocolate and whole milk.
There are no powders, no ﬁ llers,
and no syrups. It’s just milk …
After slaking my lust for some-
thing sweet, Mr. Sax and I wan-
dered into Jupiter’s Books on
North Spruce Street. While my
Classiﬁ ed Sales
husband conversed with the
owner, I browsed the shelves
where I discovered an old friend,
the illustrated collection of stories
“Amphigorey” was ﬁ rst pub-
lished in 1972. Collected in one
paperback volume, it’s actually
ﬁ fteen macabre short stories writ-
ten and illustrated by Edward
Gorey, an American artist. The
stories include “The Unstrung
Harp,” “The Object Lesson,” and
“The Curious Sofa,” and my own
lurid favorite, “The Gashlycrumb
“The Gashlycrumb Tinies” was
originally published on its own in
1963; it’s an illustrated tale of 26
children, each representing a let-
ter of the alphabet, their untimely
deaths relayed in rhyming cou-
CANNON BEACH GAZETTE
The Cannon Beach Gazette is
published every other week by EO
1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside,
503-738-5561 • Fax 503-738-
Annually: $40.50 in county,
$58.00 in and out of county.
Postage Paid at: Cannon Beach,
plet. “The Gashlycrumb Tines” is
Gorey’s most notorious and best
known work. Famously reviewed
as “a sarcastic rebellion against
a sunny, idyllic childhood,” the
morbid humor is derived from the
mundane ways children can per-
ish, such as falling down stairs,
drowning, choking on a peach,
or, my personal favorite, “B is for
Basil assaulted by bears.”
In 1973 a college friend
named Corey gave me “Amphig-
orey” as a gift. I lost Corey four-
teen years later during the AIDS
crisis. My copy of the book mys-
teriously disappeared from my
shelves. I’m pretty sure some-
body swiped it.
Happily, thanks to a wonderful
used books bookstore, once again,
Send address changes to Cannon
Beach Gazette, P.O. Box 210,
Astoria, OR 97103
Copyright 2018 © Cannon Beach
Gazette. Nothing can be reprinted
or copied without consent of
Old spirit tree,
I wonder how you
Cling to earth
With roots exposed.
Is your center holding
Fast despite the sea’s
Now surrounded by
Rusted rock, you
Embrace layered logs
Left by the high tide.
Your trunk bleeds
Pitch where lovers
Carved a heart deep
Into your torn bark.
You lean toward
The sea while you
Grasp the land with
One last link to life,
A gnarled, withered
Root tamped deep
Into the soil like
A stick of dynamite
Ready to ex
THE NATIONAL AWARD-WINNING