Avi Granite 6
Pet Mantis Records PMR016 (avigranite6.com)
This Avi Granite 6 recording, Operator, opens with two songs that ripple with a chugging pulse suggesting a disc-full of funky tunes. But the guitarist Avi Granite soon shows that his mellifluous aesthetics and wide-ranging stylistic tastes are born of an emphasis on melody and colour – with a little bit of off-the-wall humour baked into wholesome musical patty-cakes.
The repertoire on the album is front-loaded with opportunities for brass and reeds. Trumpeter Jim Lewis, trombonist Tom Richards and clarinetist (and saxophonist) Peter Lutek respond with vim and vigour, and virtuosity.
Granite occupies the chordal chair, his guitar an endless source of surprise as he pumps both volume and pedals throughout – literally and metaphorically. The wonder of his playing is how engagingly, articulately, flowingly and idiomatically he pours himself into his music that is uniformly good and also quite different sounding. He leads a rhythm section that includes bassist Neal Davis and drummer Ted Warren and the three horn players in a lustrous exposition of mercurial work, full of slashing and nostalgic ideas that make this 37-minute musical romp a quite gripping experience.
Between such puckishly titled – and performed – works such as Crushing Beans, Voracious, Misanthropic Vindaloo and Many Bowls, these musicians come together for a performance vivid in interplay and keenly attentive to these charts that appear to resonate with mysteries and wonders seemingly unique to colourful Canada in general – and Toronto in particular.