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Nick Granville Group: Blues for Les

Wellington guitarist and composer Nick Granville first appeared at Elsewhere as far back as 2008 with his Wishful Thinking album with his group.

An in-demand session player and guest performer (on everything from Dancing with the Stars to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) he is also a tutor at the New Zealand School of Music teaching classical and jazz guitar. He has played alongside such famous international artists as Kiri Te Kanawa, Alan Broadbent, Kurt Elling and Steve Smith.

He is also a prolific recording artist and appears on about 40 albums, as well being on many film and television scores. 

And as a jazz player he is an energetic and deep player, as witnessed on his forthcoming album Refractions (through Rattle Jazz) where he plays with the Auckland dream-team of Roger Manins (sax), Olivier Holland (bass) and Ron Samsom (drums).

The titles of some of the pieces hint at their content: Blues Suite, Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs, Ornette-ology, Gloves Off, Muddy Side Up . . .

Granvile acknowledges the tunes were the result of his study of the music of John Scofield.

So here's Nick Granville answering our Famous Elsewhere Jazz Questionnaire . . . 

The first piece of music, jazz or otherwise, which really affected you was ?

I can’t remember the first pop / rock tune that affected me cause there were many but the first jazz tune I remember was Full House by Wes Montgomery from the live at Tsubo - berkeley CD. I remember thinking this is the blues with jazz but not as I’d heard it before and it had a great feel to it.

When did you first realise this jazz thing was for you?

I was maybe 13 or 14 and fell in love with improvising. Naturally, this lead me to jazz.

What one piece of music would you play to a 15-year old into rock music to show them, 'This is jazz, and this is how it works'?

Autumn Leaves, from the cannonball Aderley CD featuring Miles Davis. (something else is the name of the disk). Or anything from Cannonball, Miles Quinet or Wes Montgomery.

Time travel allows you go back to experience great jazz. You would go…?

The 1960s or 1970’s.

Which period of Miles Davis' career do you most relate to, and why: the acoustic Fifties; his orchestrated albums with Gil Evans; the fusion of the late Sixties; street funk of the Seventies or the Tutu album and beyond in the Eighties . . .

All of it. But if I had to pick one I’d say the fusion stuff of the late 60’s. For me that was ground breaking work (as all of it was but this especially) as it was some of the first jazz music I heard that made me realise it was ok to be forward thinking and combine music as per ones own personal tastes and upbringings.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

Not really. I don’t really keep that kind of thing.

The best book on the jazz life you have read is . . .

None are coming to mind. But does ‘Effortless Mastery’ (Kenny Werner) count? I love this book. It’s not really about jazz life, but kind of has elemtents of that.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Cannonball. Yep, I’d play, wouldn’t miss that one for the world.

matrixThe three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Tough question. Here are three movies I’ve watched many times. I guess …. The Shawshank Redemption, The Matrix and Star Wars (can’t decide between the 3 Star Wars – and there are only 3!). Don’t what these say about me but, make from these what you will.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

CD was Jonathan Kreisberg Shadowless. Download was Wide Angels, Michael Brecker.

One jazz standard you wished you had written . . .

Round Midnight!

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

We have a cool painting by Jamie Peacock form 1971, I love it. It’s a sketch of a few buildings that is reflected in water or street in front all set in orange and red/yellow. It’s a bit abstract but it’s really interesting and inspiring.

Three non-jazz albums for a desert island would be . . ?

Sgt. Peppers, Beatles. Songs in the key of Life, Stevie Wonder… and Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd.

j17_2689x2400Your dream band of musicians (living or dead) would be . . ?

Peter Erskine (drums), John Pattituci (bass), Joey DeFrancesco (organ), Kenny Garrett (alto), Alex Sipiagin (tpt), Michael Brecker (tenor)…. And maybe sting to guest on vocals on a tune or two.

And finally, is there a track on your most recent album you would love people to hear. And, if so, why that one?

On my new CD about to be released on Rattle there is a track called ‘Blues for Les’ that I’m glad I wrote and I felt the band played that really well, especially Roger Manins.  

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