Bassist J.A. Granelli's Mr. Lucky may be a totally revamped lineup from the group that released Gigantic (Love Slave, 2004), but its philosophy remains the same. Homing lives in a place somewhere between Ry Cooder's loose, pre-Buena Vista Social Club work and Bill Frisell's Good Dog, Happy Man, a collection of roots-oriented material that's about groove and a collective sound more than any one person's contribution. Still, while the album has nothing to do with overt virtuosity, its emotional honesty and occasional unexpected musical tangents wouldn't be possible without accomplished and broad-minded players.
Departed slide guitarist David Tronzo has been ...read more
The words surf's up" keep coming to mind when I listen to bassist J.A. Granelli and Mr. Lucky's Gigantic. Though it may seem an odd comparison, the music here has that rough-around-the-edges groove mode of long ago guitar/organ-based surf music, a very early sixties (pre-Beatles) Southern California type of garage rock. These minor hit records from regional instrumental groups served as soundtracks for 8mm surf documentary movie makers who traveled from high school gym to local community centers with their now laughably antiquated projectors and pull down movie screens. Bruce Brown's Endless Summer was simply the most successful of these ...read more
The music that J.A. Granelli and Mr. Lucky make has nothing to do with jazz. That does not matter, for they serve up dollops of music that tantalizes and captivates even in the quietest moments.
Granelli balances the structure of the album very well as he brings in different moods to keep the snare secure. One of the most beautiful tunes is the title track on which he plays the piccolo bass and David Tronzo cuts a deep swath on the slide guitar to underline an emotional wallop. There are many hues to 'Merle.' Pop music is one, ...read more
This is not going to be an album for everyone, but here are some potential candidates: listeners who feel that smooth jazz is too limited and without any real pulse rockers who are tired of the same old licks and Top 40 syndrome the disenchanted who yearn for music that's better suited than mainstream jazz for parties musical adventurers who pride themselves on always looking beyond the obvious and wish to explore some fresh, cutting edge music.
Bassist J.A. Granelli is the leader of Mr. Lucky, which is allegedly named in honor of Henry Mancini's ...read more
What is jazz? Does anyone know anymore? When Bill Frisell won Downbeat's Album of the Year award a few years back for Nashville--an album that was long on Americana and bluegrass and, at least on initial inspection, short on the things that most people tended to associate with jazz--the landscape had clearly changed.
And that's not a bad thing. What really defines jazz is the improvisational spirit; not just someone soloing over a band mind you, but a true collective improvisational spirit; and Frisell, who continues to explore Americana roots music, clearly puts that front and centre, regardless ...read more
Here's a concisely arranged, quaint and slightly off-kilter effort from a crew of New York City musicians who generally shun the straight and narrow. Organist Jamie Shaft commences the opener, Whatever Lola Wants," with an eerie, low-pitched groove followed by David Tronzo's wily slide guitar ruminations. The band continues to meld laid back, funk vibes with country blues and rock backbeats on many of these works. Saft's haunting organ motif serves as the underpinning for Tronzo's dreamy guitar and the group's altogether sullen soundscapes created on Crawl." However, drummer Kenny Wollesen drags the pulse with his brushes while Tronzo consummates ...read more
Crunch is a welcome edition to this seemingly bold new era of 'Modern Jazz'. Here we have three New York City based musicians who summon our imaginative powers as they stylishly meld their disparate voices in a slightly offbeat manner. Slide guitarist Dave Tronzo, bassist J.A. Granelli and saxophonist Peter Epstein are among those willing to take chances in today's fertile jazz scene as their respective resumes prove that notion beyond a reasonable doubt. With Crunch, the musicians pursue otherworldly sounds along with shifting undercurrents and shrewd three-way dialogue on pieces such as 'Long Blue Dream' and 'Thing # 6' ...read more