Donna Grantis Plays The Dakota

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Thursday April 19, 2018

From Minneapolis Star Tribune

Prince’s former musician Donna Grantis plays guitar hero at the Dakota
By: Jon Bream

The most impressive aspect of her 75-minute first set was the range and depth of her stylistic vocabulary as she traveled down eight different lanes of the jazz-rock fusion superhighway in Hendrixian crosstown traffic.

There was only a hint of Princely stylings in this intense and sometimes gorgeous instrumental stew, but there were nods to Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Jimi Hendrix and other guitar greats — all with an East Indian undertone thanks to tabla player Suphala.

The arrangements featured occasional call-and-response exchanges between Grantis and keyboardist Bryan Nichols and plenty of solo time for both. Her passages were substantial enough to be involving but not long enough to be indulgent.

A passionate but unshowy performer, Grantis used an ebow on ‘Mr. Majestic’ and different effects pedals on other numbers. With her simpatico players, the guitarist created a sumptuous swirl of sound. She even dialed it down. Evoking ripples of water in a Minnesota lake, ‘Laelia’ might have seemed like a New Age piece to some listeners, but in this context it was a thing of crystalline beauty.

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