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Grassy Knoll: III

Recent developments in acid funk, hip-hop and post-hop have proven that, to the Dark Prince, a.k.a. Miles Davis, predicting the future was nothin’ but a thang. Now, nearly three decades after the fact, folks are just now starting to realize the enormous importance of his “electric period” recordings.

Now that Davis’ future has become our present, it’s time to look around to find out who is doing the flyest dances on top of it. Bob Green, the mastermind behind the Grassy Knoll may not be the only person in this category; it just doesn’t take a whole lot of time to call the roll. If the ultimate modern jazz band would, indeed, be one that could do Public Enemy live. III, (Antilles, 314-557-111-2;63:26) the third and best offering from the ever-amazing Knoll, comes closest to reaching that destructo-funk nirvana, a sonic accomplishment beyond the pale of mere descriptives like “dope” and “amazing.” Green’s endorphin-deficient post-hip-hop production and dub-influenced bass support Ellery Eskelin’s Trane-by-way-of-Leibman sax soundsheets, and additional texture from cellist Jane Scarpatoni and Sonic Youth string strangler Thurston Moore. From the loping “A Beaten Dog Beneath the Hail” to the slightly metallic “World Reduced to a Zero,” Green and Co. juggle the various spheres of hip-hop, rock, jazz and funk with a disarming aplomb; the live players drag the soundscapes’ stray ends into unexpected quadrants. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another quarter century for people to get with it.

Originally Published