It’s still with last year’s very good record, Refractions somewhat circling in my ears that I dived on into Home, Granville’s swift follow-up, available at a pay-what-you-like price/free from Bandcamp. Once again I like very much that Granville understands what it is to be a group, to be part of a group, to be the band leader but to also be a leader who knows when and how to follow – someone adding colour and creating space.
So it’s to a nimble-fingered intro across Matakana, a lively samba-infused jazzer, but Granville’s guitar hops straight back into the rhythm section to let Neil Billington blow. Some great harmonica here and drummer Lance Phillip provides huge swirls of colour with his circling fills.
A gorgeous string line frames The Bucket Fountain, weeping horns set up the space for Donald Armstrong’s violin to dance across the light rhythm. I’m reminded of the warmth from that wonderful Ponty/Clarke/DiMeolo record, The Rites of Strings. A further highlight in this tune is the cascades of piano from Ben Wilcock.
Granville’s group features some of Wellington’s finest, Colin Hemmingsen on clarinets and tenor, Alex Nyman on flute and alto, Rodger Fox (trombone) and the rhythm section of Philip on drums with Nick Tipping nodding the bass into place.
The charts are wonderful here – the very cinematic waft of Newtown, the violin introducing the tune before the sax takes the brushed-ballad out for a stroll. And when Granville does step in to solo he shows he’s got all the chops as solos across Hanmer and Mt Cook show.
The closing Manor Park has the feeling of classic late-night jazz – and it’s a reminder that the tracks that make up Home represent the various spaces and places that are special to Granville, if the colours and shapes come from the American idiom then this is still a record that could only have been built at home. Here.
Stunning performances, great songs, and an easy flow to the way this album rolls out – it’s a step up (already) from last year’s very fine album. And it shows that Granville, hard working as ever, is constantly seeking out new musical spaces, new ideas, new collaboration, new reasons to perform, new seasons to shape.