A different kind of intriguing
Reviewed May 2007
By J.A. Granelli & Mr. Lucky
Love Slave Records: 2006
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So it would seem that Mr. Lucky is no more than a side project for J.A. Granelli. Back for a third outing, the combo no longer features guitarist David Tronzo or organist Jamie Saft.
So there's a different groove here than that found on 2001's "El Oh El Ay" or 2003's "Gigantic," both of which featured the core of Granelli on bass and the above two lead players (with Kenny Wolleson handling drums the first outing, and Diego Voglino the second).
Brad Shepik is on guitar here, Nate Shaw on keys. Both exhibit some pretty hefty prowess on their respective instruments, but definitely the approach diverges from what has gone before. Not better, not lesser. Just other.
More linear, mostly. There's less noodling around. Even on slow, stately passages, there's less sense of the wandering in the instrumental solos that so marked the first two Mr. Lucky albums. And on the funkiest piece of the nine new Granelli compositions here, "Long Hair," the playing is far closer to jazz than the funk and blues that informed the earlier combo's groove.
Mike Sarin's drumming is just as fluid and supple as what was on the first two discs, and Gerald Manke adds a bit of a sheen on steel guitar.
It all adds up to a very different Mr. Lucky experience. It's as fascinating in its own way as the first two discs, and those with a bent toward the eclectic and experimental will give this repeated listens and then begin looking forward to a fourth effort.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).