137

J.A. Granelli and Mr. Lucky: Homing

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
J.A. Granelli and Mr. Lucky: Homing
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Departed slide guitarist David Tronzo has been replaced by guitarist Brad Shepik and, on half the album, steel guitarist Gerald Menke. So there are even greater textural opportunities, augmented by Nate Shaw's organ and Fender Rhodes. Granelli and drummer Mike Sarin—and the entire group, for that matter—never overplay, relying more on space to create its slightly surreal atmosphere. While strong melodies abound, Mr. Lucky retains the modernistic edge that has always set it apart from straightforward roots rockers.

Homing feels like a logical progression for Granelli and this new incarnation of Mr. Lucky, but they also explore some new directions. The blues of "Long Hair, whose second-line rhythm clearly references New Orleans legend Professor Longhair, is skewed by adding an extra beat or two here and there to keep it on the verge of unpredictability.

While Shepik's sometimes grungy tone is responsible for some of the group's bite, Homing is Mr. Lucky's most relaxed outing to date. Songs like the gentle "Sum Song (Gil) and countrified ballad "My True Love define the ambience. Even the more up-tempo "The Row Boat Stomp (Lola) and dynamic build of both "Fortunate Son and the verging-on-abandon "Hope for Junior amble along in a similarly relaxed fashion, lending credence to the album's subtitle: "A Feeling in Nine Parts.

It may not be jazz by any conventional definition, but it's a certainty that Granelli and Mr. Lucky don't particularly care. Like Frisell, improvisation is a key element of what they do. But in a context that's as distanced from the jazz mainstream as the nu jazz movement of Scandinavia, Homing is an album that's sure to reward those who view it as part of a larger continuum, where fusing elements from disparate sources is not only allowed but encouraged.

Track Listing

Fortunate Son; Lazy Eye; Hope for Junior; Happy Pt. 3 (Lana); Long Hair; Torso; Sum Song (Gil); My True Love; The Row Boat Stomp (Lola).

Personnel

J.A. Granelli: bass (2,3,5,6,8,9), piccolo bass (1,4,7); Brad Shepik: guitar; Nate Shaw: B3 organ, Fender Rhodes (6,9); Mike Sarin: drums; Gerald Menke: steel guitar (2,3,4,8).

Album information

Title: Homing | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Love Slave Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Pachamama
Phisqa
Elsewhere
Keisuke Kishi
Old Souls
The KUH Trio
Other Worlds
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Soundprints
Mono No Aware
Roberto Pianca Sub Rosa
Live at NIR Studios
Georg Graewe, Kjell Nordeson, Jon Raskin Trio

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.