Grant Gordy • To call what Denver-based guitarist Grant Gordy does with the music he loves, the music his dad turned him on to, the music by the artists who would become his heroes and colleagues – to call it listening would be inaccurate. He hasn’t been just listening to it; he absorbs it, digests and dissects it, explores it to the very edge, feels it, knows it.
From the gift of an A&L acoustic guitar from his blues/R&B guitar-playing flat-picking and composer father and sharing time and technique, through Led Zeppelin rock and Grateful Dead roll. To time in bands, mastering improvisation and other concepts, to loving the blues and discovering bebop, modern jazz, straight-ahead bluegrass and the classics of Bach and Beethoven: What Gordy actually has been doing is continuous study.
In there was 1996′s DGQ-20, the three-disc set by the David Grisman Quintet, the album Gordy says completely changed his life. "I was hearing all these cool new chords and complex arranged tunes and great players and something about it just fit for me. It even got me started thinking about writing my own tunes." he says.
Gordy put together his own quartet in 2006 that gigged for a couple of years and then got the call from David "Dawg" Grisman to sub in and then ultimately join the Quintet as guitarist. Says Grisman of Gordy: "[He] belongs to the new elite family of American acoustic practitioners who are pushing the ever-expanding envelope of a musical frontier … Bluegrass, newgrass, jazz, classical and even ‘dawg’ are all audible influences in Grant’s musical vision … [His] guitar stylings offer a rare blend of flat-picking virtuosity, jazz exploration and classical sensibility – all displayed here in the setting of his choosing."
"[He] belongs to the new elite family of American acoustic practitioners who are pushing the ever-expanding envelope of a musical frontier…”
That "setting" is Gordy’s self-titled debut album, which includes his "Blues To Dawg" that he invited Grisman to contribute his signature mandolin playing to. He also brought in Jayme Stone (banjo) – with whom he’d recorded and toured Canada and the Eastern U.S. in Stone’s AFRICA TO APPALACHIA band with Malian musician Mansa Sissoko. Also part of his studio quartet: fiddle phenom Alex Hargreaves; virtuoso Paul Kowert on bass, currently playing with Chris Thile’s Punch Brothers; and Dominick Leslie on mandolin, who’d been part of Gordy’s Denver-based quartet and currently attends Berklee College of Music.
"At heart, I’m really an improviser; that’s what very first drew me to playing music – the idea that you can make things up as you go along – but I’m also very interested in composition," Gordy says. "I like the idea of a group of musicians having as much room and freedom to explore and improvise as they want, but within a context of a compelling arrangement that can be exciting for, and draws in, the listener. … It’s also my hope that even though the pieces on the record reflect a wide range of interests and influences, they still sound like a cohesive statement from one composer."
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