Jazz Fest review: V16

Jerry Granelli puts petal to the metal for a fantastic, head-spinning ride.

Stylishly boho in a loose-fitting dark, patterned shirt and soigne red scarf, Mister V16 himself stood behind a drum kit to address an anticipatory audience thronging the Festival Tent last night. Said Jerry Granelli, "We're gonna play some music off our new CD (V16:Vancouver '08)--a beat- and music we haven't heard either." Big laugh. Brandishing a drumstick, Granelli then popped a cymbal-like the crack of a bat striking a ball. V16's trio of staggering musical brilliance and knee-buckling instrumental chops—David Tronzo and Christian Kogel on electric guitars with J Anthony Granelli on electric bass (to continue the baseball analogy)—went yard; hitting the ball out of the park with a flight show of jazz funk unlike your standard funk issue. With J Anthony Granelli at its apex and Kogel and Tronzo a stage-width apart facing each other at its other points, this dynamic triangle gleefully rocketed between them, note spasms, chord chunks, skittering lead lines and shifting, shimmeringly moody or noirish slide guitar modulating chord patterns. Their infectious merriment showed throughout on their faces. Amidst this back and forth, there'd be incandescent passages wherein both guitars would suddenly cohese, producing blisteringly quick harmonic runs. Every electronica effect received a vigorous workout. None of it gratuitous. Or forced. Or repetitive. The effects helped shape surprising soundscapes: silky, slinky, lush, haunting, brittle, playful and, at times, downright comical. After a particularly energetic workout, Jerry Granelli wiped a hand across his moustache and said, "As they say in jazz circles, we'd like to slow things down now, -beat- but we can't." A V16 is a very powerful engine. You go fast. Go hard. Pedal to the metal. For a fantastic, head-spinning ride.

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