Jerry Granelli


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This is one curious date. It's a session made up of amazing players -- Charlie Haden, Ralph Towner (who plays synth!?), Julian Priester, Robben Ford, Jay Clayton, Denny Goodchew, and drummer Granelli -- who can't make up their mind what they want to be. There are times, like on the title track, when what we're hearing is some sort of world music/jazz fusion with synthetic keyboard lines primped against some kind of polyrhythm-light texture that goes nowhere. Other times, like on "Haiku," the band creates a brief but very persuasive series of rhythmic intervals that border on modes with ostinato, carrying the transient instruments between them. Still, on others, such as Goodchew's "I Could See Forever," we get a fairly swinging read on bluesy jazz-rock fusion. And on Priester's "Julia's Child," we get the jazz approximation of a folk song, with Jay Clayton's voice illustrating the verses plaintively yet persuasively. The only track that works as jazz, specifically, is "In the Moment," with the killer solos by Goodchew on saxophone and Ford's wonderfully knotty chord voicings. The true standout on the entire mess, however, is Clayton, who can work it seems in virtually any setting. She's an angel with a voice that can challenge not only celestial choirs, but demonic ones as well. She can sing it all, and it would have been a far better record if she had chosen the material in this soup.

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