Don Grusin & Dave Grusin – Sticks And Stones (1988)

FrontCover1Sticks and Stones is an album by American pianist Dave Grusin with his brother Don Grusin. It was released in 1988, recorded for the GRP label. The album reached No. 14 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart. (wikipedia)

This set works very well. Dave Grusin and his younger brother Don Grusin use a variety of keyboards to create a series of colorful duets. Other than Dori Caymmi’s “Southern Wind,” all of the fairly spontaneous yet well-planned performances are originals by one or both of the brothers. Even listeners who are not that much into electronics will find much of interest on this melodic and funky, yet often unpredictable set. (by Scott Yanow)
“Sticks and Stones” is a very special album musically and personally. The year was 1988 and Dave Grusin’s GRP label was off in full force producing one unique recording after another. One of the album’s released during this peak period is this one.

Dave Grusin and brother Don produced and played everything on “Sticks and Stones” themselves and with the exception of the dual piano rendition Dori Caymmi’s “Southern Wind”, they wrote all the music as well.

Don Grusin

The Grusin’s employed what was then the very latest in keyboard technology on this album. Several of the sounds on the album, especially the rhythm tracks, don’t sound synthetic at all. Listen for the snare drum marches on the closing Celtic-tinged track “North-Tribal Step Dance” or the bass-lines on “This Little Pig’s Got The Blues” and you’d swear they were the real instruments instead of from synths or drum machines.

The music on “Sticks and Stones” is quite varied. Beside the two tracks mentioned above, Dave’s TV/Film Theme style is heard in the opening track “Birds With Long Legs” as well as “River Song”. “Pico Pica” and the title track both have a slight Brazilian Jazz feel to them while “Good Ol’ Boys” has a humorous country quality to it. Dave and Don also team up for two acoustic piano duets – one of which is the above mentioned “Southern Wind” and the other being a bluesy gospel-tinged romp entitled “Dog Heaven”.

Lee Ritenour Band , Featuring : Dave Grusin

With all this said, Dave and Don Grusin’s “Sticks and Stones” is a highly entertaining album which brings back some great memories for this reviewer. The CD is unfortunately out-of-print and has been for many years. However, it is still highly possible to find it used at a decent price.

If you’re looking for some pleasant yet eclectic instrumental music with a good relaxing feel, look no further that this album. It’s a great CD and it sounds like the Grusin brothers just had a plain ball making it together. (by Louie Bourland)


Dave Grusin (all instruments)
Don Grusin (all instruments)
Dori Caymmi (vocals on 10.)


01. Birds With Long Legs (Dave Grusin) 5.05
02. Pico Pica (Don Grusin) 4.57
03. Sailing At Night (Don Grusin) 4.19
04. River Song (Dave Grusin/Don Grusin) 5.13
05. Sticks And Stones (Dave Grusin/Don Grusin) 6.10
06. Glissade (Dave Grusin) 5.19
07. Good Ol’ Boys (Don Grusin) 7.29
08. This Little Pig’s Got The Blues (Don Grusin) 5.29
09. Dog Heaven (Don Grusin) 4.52
10. Southern Wind (Caymmi) 4.19
11. North-Tribal Step Dance (Dave Grusin) 4.50



Don & Dave