Born: January 5, 1978 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Avi Granite is a Canadian-born guitarist and composer living in New York. Granite began life in Toronto, Ontario, studying classical guitar and piano at a young age. Though Granite abandoned these traditions by age 10, the music continued forward. After exploring visual art and other expressive mediums, Granite’s focus returned to music by age 18 when he realized he had found his life’s passion. He attended Humber College (though he was not accepted on his first audition) and graduated from the Jazz Studies bachelor program where he had the opportunity to study with Pat LaBarbera, Don Thompson, Ted Quinlan and many other esteemed members of the Canadian jazz community.
Around that time, Granite established Pet Mantis Records, an independent record label dedicated to the release and promotion of improvisation-based music. “Nautilus Improvised Organic Breaks: Three Cuts In London” was the first CD released on PMR, an improvising guitar trio focused on groove and beats made popular in Jungle and Drum ‘n Bass music of the day. A year prior to recording together, Granite met Nautilus bassist Scott Peterson while attending the Banff Jazz Workshop, where Granite studied and performed with the likes of Dave Douglas, Kenny Werner, Chris Potter, Jim Black among others.
In 2006, Avi Granite:5, a self-titled CD, was released as part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. This marked Granite’s first album release as a leader performing his own compositions. The group toured regionally and eventually expanded to a six- piece ensemble. In December of 2006, Granite was granted a composition residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts during which he composed 9 pieces for an 11-piece band. While on this residency, the beginnings of Granite’s graphical explorations of composition was born. Granite conceived “Inside,” a composition that encourages and fosters improvisation from any musician, regardless of their style. The piece has been performed by musicians of many traditions, including The Yves Ensemble of Holland and The Motion Ensemble of Canada.
Soon after, the Avi Granite:6 was formed. With the help of the Canada Council for the Arts, the AG:6 spent two days at Pucks Farm recording what would become Granite’s second release as a leader, “Avi Granite:6 - Red Tree” (PMR). Featuring all new compositions, “Red Tree” garnered high praise from several media outlets, including a four star review in Downbeat Magazine and inclusion in the publication’s top CDs of 2008. The subsequent AG:6 tour included a performance at the 2008 Montreal International Jazz Festival as part of the Rising Stars series. Granite, along with AG:6 bass player Neal Davis, traveled to Europe in the winter of 2008, with stops in Switzerland to perform with Christoph Grab and Marius Peyer as well as Kevin Brow and Jacob Denisen in Denmark.
Granite moved to New York in 2009 to expand his horizons and pursue a masters at New York University. During his time at NYU, he had the pleasure of studying with Brad Shepik, John Scofield, Tony Moreno, Ralph Alessi and Joe Lovano. The winter of 2010 saw the establishment of Avi Granite’s Verse, a New York quartet performing new compositions, featuring Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Jerry DeVore on bass and Owen Howard on drums. Verse recorded it’s debut CD “Snow Umbrellas,” due for release in early 2012. Concurrently, Granite established another New York based project entitled Avi Granite’s Graphic Tongue, a further exploration of his graphical composition method developed at Banff. Graphic Tongue is an ensemble designed to perform this specific body of work and features Michael Attias on saxophone, Evan Crane on bass and Tiffany Chang on drums.
...slick charts and distinctive structures... Thick ensemble work, strong shape-changing melody narratives, diverse textural colour and a kind of loose togetherness... - Geoff Chapman Coda Magazine
...chalk-full of invigorating improvisational change-ups, restless rhythms, and developing melodies that seep through like fresh moisture in a well-aged barrel in the barn.- Eric Theriault PANPOT
Pet Mantis Records
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New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students