Published Mar 21, 2019Toronto's Donna Grantis is a musical legend around these parts, both by way of being a protégé for the late Prince — playing with the New Power Generation and being a co-guitarist and songwriter with the affiliate group 3rdEyeGirl — and being a solid session player and hired gun for Toronto-based performers like Shakura S'Aida, the late Haydain Neale of Jacksoul, Kardinal Offishall and Amanda Marshall.
Grantis embarks on her own with solo debut Diamonds & Dynamite, an instrumental project that uses elements of improvisational jazz, rock and funk. Working with a core of talent that includes bassist Cody McKinney, percussionist JT Bates, tabla player Suphala and keyboard player Bryan Nichols, the eight-track album is a fusion of her love of rock, funk, soul and jam session-styled improvisation that works within jazz structures.
Being a Prince protégé, a longtime session player and a kick-ass guitarist in her own right, Grantis is committed to excellence, and it's at work here, from the composition to the layered production. The moody, tabla-driven "Mr. Majestic" has a definite New Power Generation feel, from the guitar work to the chords in play. The title track goes in on an elliptical, improvisational energy to set the tone, as numbers like "Lioness" and "Elektromagnetic" accomplish the jammy, off-kilter control mechanic.
Grantis recorded live directly to tape with the aim of doing a single take per record, and given the jam session approach and highly improvisational style, the end results impress. (eOne)