Acclaimed guitarist Donna Grantis, best known as the co-lead
guitarist in Prince’s celebrated funk-rock band 3RDEYEGIRL, has
released two new songs, “Trashformer” and “Violetta,” as a limited
edition 7” with Hall of Fame Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready via his
vinyl label HockeyTalkter Records. The tracks are off Grantis’
forthcoming album Diamonds & Dynamite, which is set for release in early 2019.
The 7” highlights a collaboration between Grantis and McCready that
was sparked in 2013 while Grantis was performing with Prince in his
bands 3RDEYEGIRL and New Power Generation. She met McCready following a
show at The Showbox in Seattle, WA and years later joined him and Pearl
Jam on stage for a pair of shows in Grantis’ hometown of Toronto.
Speaking about the release, Grantis notes, “It has been an
incredible honor to collaborate with Mike on these songs. His playing
has always been a huge inspiration—from the time I first picked up the
guitar through to composing 'Trashformer' with this
collaboration in mind. Mike adds a glorious solo on the outro of
‘TRASHFORMER’ that is absolutely electrifying and ambient sound effects
throughout the B-side, ‘Violetta’ that are truly sublime. It was so much
fun making this music!” McCready adds, “I had the great
pleasure of seeing Donna play guitar with Prince and she was amazing!
She is a phenomenal guitar player with a killer groove and instinct. I
was honored to be asked to play on two of her songs, 'Trashformer' and ‘Violetta.'
I’m stoked to be putting out both on limited 7-inch vinyl through my
label, HockeyTalkter Records. Hope everyone enjoys the great groove and
these sweet songs.”
“Trashformer” and “Violetta” mark the first new music released by
Grantis following her four-year tenure collaborating with Prince. She
rehearsed, recorded, performed and toured with the iconic superstar from
2012-2016 and even composed the title track to Prince &
3RDEYEGIRL’s 2014 release, Plectrumelectrum, which reached #1
on the Billboard Rock Chart and was recorded live to tape at his
historic Paisley Park Studios in Minnesota. Notable performances include
three nights headlining the Montreux Jazz Festival, headlining
the Essence Festival at a sold-out Superdome in New Orleans, and a
historic performance at The White House for President Barack Obama and
Grantis’ current music marks a new direction for her as a
bandleader—writing, arranging, producing and performing under her own
name. Rooted in jazz improvisation, Grantis’ group creates a sound
unique in today’s music scene—fusing incendiary guitar playing and
Indian percussion that has been described by the Star Tribune as “New
millennium jazz-rock fusion, sorta like Jeff Beck meets a post-modern
Mahavishnu Orchestra.” Represented by IMN, Grantis will tour
internationally in support of the album next year, starting January 5 in
New York City with a performance at Winter Jazzfest NYC.
Pickup the Vinyl here.
Photo by Karrah Kobus
The other night I was listening to some jazz by a new kat introduced to me and I said that sounds like jazz, capital J jazz, cemetery institutional sealed done jazz. Jazz is not gone its still going as Jazz goes. New jazz oughta sound like jazz from the 50s sure but spilling through the 60s, 70s, 80s 90s, 00s gathering up channels and nuance, tech and grooves and all those experiences one would imagine an 80 year old would have. So folks, presenting Donna Grantis, about as now jazz as you can get now. The Prince collaborator, member of 3RDEYEGIRL and New Power Generation, has a solo album titled Diamonds & Dynamite coming March 22 on Entertainment One. Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready appears as a guest on a couple of tracks, which were already released as the A and B of a seven inch vinyl. Find it dig it listen.
Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready also makes an appearance on two tracks. How did your paths cross?
first met in Seattle when Prince and 3rdeyegirl played The Showbox.
They came down to check us out, we met backstage and kept in touch. In
May 2016, Mike and the band invited me on stage in my hometown of
Toronto for their encore, Rockin' In The Free World.
talking about collaborating - he runs this boutique vinyl label called
HockeyTalkter Records and they release seven-inch singles, so we thought
it would be cool. I’m a huge fan of vinyl! I wrote the song Trashformer
specifically for Mike… I wanted this giant build-up and leave a pocket
for Mike to play into. What he played totally floored me; it knocks me
out every time I hear it.”
Donna Grantis, "Diamonds & Dynamite" (eOne)
Like with Miles Davis or David Bowie, having played with Prince is an
entry in a musician's resume that's worth a thousand recommendations.
Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis spent four years in various capacities
with the late artist who once changed his name to an unpronounceable
glyph. Among other credits, Grantis wrote the title tune for
"PlectrumElectrum," Prince's 2014 album with the group 3rdEyeGirl, which
she was also part of.
For this eight-track instrumental collection, she has teamed up with a
trio of Minneapolis aces — drummer JT Bates, bassist Cody McKinney and
keyboard player Bryan Nichols — as well as New York-based,
Minneapolis-born tabla virtuoso Suphala.
"Mr Majestic" is a mellow opener, with Grantis varying her guitar's
volume to hover over a lush base provided by electric piano and
Suphala's delicately high-pitched percussion. It's followed by the title
track — a wide-ranging composition darting across the spectrum of
funky, jazz-rock fusion — which Grantis says was, as the rest of the
album, greatly influenced by her experiences with The Purple One.
Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready adds fiery string work to
"Violetta" and "Trashformer," two of the heaviest tracks on the record.
Grantis saves one of the best and most dynamic tunes for last. "Elsa"
closes the album with plenty of all-around movement, lively interplay
between Suphala and Bates, a fuzzy keyboard solo and some nasty guitar
Recorded live-to-tape in just two days, a pace similar to that of
many great jazz albums, "Diamonds & Dynamite" is an experimentally
adventurous set, which contains ample evidence why Prince held Grantis
in such high regard.