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Jerry Granelli / Jeff Reilly: Iron Sky

Mark Corroto By

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Drummer Jerry Granelli and his ever shifting attention and projects finds him recording in blacksmith John Little's metal shop on Iron Sky. From his early days with Mose Allison and Charlie Brown pianist Vince Guaraldi, Granelli has developed from a session bop drummer into a remarkable voice of percussion.

As a leader he has pursued the history of jazz, A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing, street and folk jazz with his band UFB, and he has touched on the Downtown scene with Badlands, recording the remarkable Crowd Theory (Songlines 1999) with Chris Speed, Jamie Saft, Briggan Kraus, and Peter Epstein.

Of late, his attention seems drawn to more intimate projects, like this and a duo with Jamie Saft entitled Only Juan. This small setting, in an iron shop surrounded by sound sculptures, offers diverse and complex music that is stripped down to, well, musicians beating on metal.

Of course there is much more involved. Granelli and clarinetist Jeff Reilly take up the iron works of designer John Little to merge the musical with the metal. This electro-acoustic percussion recording is one continuous set separated into movements for tracking purposes. Reilly's bass clarinet flawlessly counters the cacophony. But it really isn't noise. Granelli crafts the deep steel drums, various gongs and cymbals into rumbling celebrations of pulse and time. Echoes of Harry Partch and his homemade instruments are felt here. Skillfully merging the breath with the mallet and occasionally looping sound generated makes for a unique experience.


Track Listing: Movements One through Ten.

Personnel: Jerry Granelli: electro accoustic percussion, sound sculptures; Jeff Reilly; clarinet, bass clarinet, sound sculptures

Title: Iron Sky | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Love Slave Records


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