Avi Granite:6 - Red Tree

  Guitarist Avi Granite presents a well-balanced sextet on Red Tree (Pet Mantis 003; 52:10) ****. Driven hard by drummer Nick Fraser, the band works through 10 of Granite's spiny compositions, playing the leader's stinging tone against the twin-sax/trombone front-line. "6th Man" best illustrates the recording's strengths, as the piece shifts seamlessly from the guitarist's solo introduction to a roaring, full-band climax. Granite writes well for horns, and he blends voices effectively on "Life Fragments". - James Hale, Downbeat Magazine, Feb. 2008

  Avi Granite:6 - Red Tree (Pet Mantis Records) showcases the enterprising guitarist leading his sextet through a 10-tune set of originals that showcase slick charts and distinctive structures that suggest they're carved from territory similar to that favoured by improvising orchestra NOJO. Thick ensemble work, strong shape-changing melody narratives, diverse textural colour and a kind of loose togetherness are all apparent. The flow of ideas from Granite and sidemen Chris Roberts, Jonathan Kay, Tom Richards, Neal Davis and Nick Fraser is continuous, needing neither volume nor electronic bric-a-brac to maintain interest.
- Geoff Chapman, CODA, May 2008

  Avi Granite and his serpentine guitar, half-intellect, half-instinct, fatten up a whole new jazz sound with the saxes and trombone of Jonathan Kay, Chris Roberts and Tom Richards. The music is at once cerebral and playful, unpretentious despite its backward cannonball jumps off the experimental diving board. Some of the experiments are meandering and indeterminate, but mostly 6 Red Tree is flavourful and accessible, for jazz of such original coinage. I loved it, most of it, especially New Rose Neurosis, 6th Man and Life Fragments.
- Jeff Mahoney. The Hamilton Spectator 26/01/2008

  Toronto-based composer and guitarist Avi Granite has been working hard over the past couple years, honing his chops, and working on material for his six piece instrumental modern jazz group. You really should look up this kid. With the challenging overall warmth of a good number of 60s-timed champions, not to mention Granite’s own rich and luminous guitar, the all-new AG:6 Red Tree offering (to be released Nov 17 Pet Mantis Records) provides a lot of juice with the fruits its cultivated. Joined by alto sax man Chris Roberts, tenor Jonathan Kay, drummer Nick Fraser, bassist Neal Davis, and Tom Richards on trombone, its upcoming organic charmer is chalk-full of invigorating improvisational change-ups, restless rhythms, and developing melodies that seep through like fresh moisture in a well-aged barrel in the barn. I can only imagine the best is yet to come for Avi (rumble young man, rumble) and his swingin' AG6.
- Eric Theriault, PanPot 28/10/2007

  Toronto guitarist Avi Granite delivers an impressive collection of twisting melodies and free-form arrangements on the follow-up to his debut Avi Granite: 5. There’s a laid-back vibe to Red Tree, which allows for the six-piece band to stretch out considerably. And since Granite doesn’t provide much in the way of comping, his occasional countermelody or noodling accompaniment lends an even more abstracted quality to the solos. While the all the players skilfully elaborate on Granite’s clever melodies — with Granite himself and drummer Nick Fraser chasing each other’s rhythms on “6th Man” and tenor saxophonist Jonathan Kay working a loose post-bop flexibility for a swarm of notes on “Ghetto Panda” — the penultimate track “In 4 Scenes” develops the band’s impressionistic ensemble ability, drifting between breakbeats and open time, squeals and wails, and even featuring a slide whistle from the horn section for four of the most avant-jazz movements on the record.
- Chris Bilton, EYE Weekly 14/10/2007


Toronto guitarist Avi Granite’s 6 Red Tree eschews non-Western influences for those of contemporary jazz. But still each of the 10 tracks offers unexpected enhancements from members of the sextet. Building up from the tough rhythms and near tom-tom-like rim shots of drummer Nick Fraser and the steady lope of bassist Neal Davis, there’s enough space for the front line, which includes keening vibrato runs from tenor saxophonist Jonathan Kay, acrid undertones from alto saxophonist Chris Roberts and the reverberations and shifting, tongue-fluffing of trombonist Tom Richards. Polished and professional, Granite sounds most solid when involved in subtle dual voicing of chromatic guitar runs with trilling horns. Throughout, no one slips too far outside, with the few shrill and off-centre textures very much a sideshow to the swinging main event. - Ken Waxman, WholeNote Magazine Feb.2008

  The Canadian guitar player and composer Avi Granite is very interesting – His album solely his own composition surprises the music society. Overseas people think his music is a thinking man's Jazz music. By looking at the album cover one would think your looking at a film title not an album cover. As the old saying goes what you see isn't always what you get, This album cover exemplifies this saying. After listening to this album several times I cannot tell if this music is easy to listen to and there's little chance that you will hear this music coming out at 200 watts from the window of a BMW. Avi Granite represents a free music world, its like spring without any shinning or hot air without any effort. However if we listen to it with an open mind you can not only appreciate his composition but also appreciate the deepness of the music and the artistic quality of the music. This album beats throughout and gives you tense feelings because Avi Granite uses a lot of wind instruments. You can feel that the musicians take this music on their shoulders and play with feeling to create this crafted music. - Czékus Mihály HFP Protál (Hungarian)