Most music under the silly rubric of “acid jazz” sounds like little more than watered-down funk, but Grassy Knoll lends the coinage some meaning. The San Francisco outfit’s recently released second album, Positive (Antilles), delivers a muscular amalgam of sounds owing as much to the guitar-heavy jazz-funk psychedelia of mid-70s Miles Davis as to the punishing sampledelia constructed by the Bomb Squad on Public Enemy’s best work. In the group’s thick, hip-hop-informed grooves, breakbeats become powerful springboards for the machinations of trumpeter Chris Grady, whose playing evokes the druggy smears of Davis on classics like Agharta and Pangaea, and reedist Jonathan Byerly, whose overblown squeals are tempered by the infectious, steady rhythms of drummer David Revelli. The mix is fleshed out by bassist-guitarist-keyboardist Bob Green’s inventive sampling, which ranges from dense atmospherics to propulsive licks, and his guitar playing, which leaps effortlessly from riffing to wah-wah-assisted extrapolation. Without
losing the hypnotic appeal of hip-hop, the combo functions organically, as a real live band rather than a mere studio concoction. Sunday, 1 PM, Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark, 477-5994; also opening for Liquid Soul, 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 489-3160.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Bob Green photo by Alison Rosa.