The simple answer to the question that drummer Jerry Granelli poses on What I Hear Now is "horns." He hears horns over the foundation of his regular trio with saxophonist Dani Oore and bassist Simon Fisk who uses the 3 string bassetto here. The mix is three reeds, including tenor saxophonist Mike Murley, joined by a trombone.
Granelli is not an easy guy to put into a compartment. He was part of pianist Vince Guaraldi's trio during the "Charlie Brown Era," including the classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas,"and in 1965 he added his percussive magic to a very catchy (in no small part to the groove he laid down) top ten pop radio hit, "You Were On My Mind," by a group called the "The We Five." And he slipped in the "out" direction in his work with pianist Denny Zeitlin in the sixties.
But overall, Granelli is an "out" guy, an artist who has been steadfast in his quest to play the things he hears, the way he wants to play him, including the marvelous and expansive The Sandhills Reunion (Songlines Recordings, 2004).
Grannelli opens his horn fest with a reverent-sounding "Prologue." The horns sound as if they are echoing off the stone walls of a European cathedralslow, deliberate, interweaving lines, or maybe its the band's respite to a night in New Orleans; the horn guys are pooped (in a good way), and the good times have rolled. "Run Danny Run" is jagged and argumentative, with Grannelli offering and orchestral display of percussion. "Walter White" unfolds in a stealth mode, lots of cool unison in front of Granelli's lively percolation, an anguished sax solo with a deep trombone counterpoint. Then the rest of the front line chimes in to caterwaul with a loosey-goosey precision before slipping back into wall of unison.
Call it an "out" offering, but it's a very approachable one, the horns floating in the absence of the chording instrument, the drumming as intricate and invigorating as can be.
Prologue; Run Danny Run; Walter White; Mystery' Dance For Me; Another Place; The Swamp.
Jerry Granelli: drums; Mike Murley: tenor saxophone; Dani Oore: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Andrew McKelvey: alto saxophone; Andrew Jackson: trombone; Simon Fisk: 3 string bassetto.
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