dimanche 16 août 2009

J.A. Granelli & Mr Lucky : "El oh el ay"

(Love Slave, 2001)

Bassist J.A. Granelli (the son of drummer Jerry Granelli) named this band after a Henry Mancini song, "Mr. Lucky," a dark-hued version of which appears here. The eclectic quartet boasts some of the leading lights of New York's avant-garde scene: David Tronzo on slide guitar, Jamie Saft on organ, Kenny Wolleson on drums. (Granelli plays the unusual piccolo bass on a couple of tracks.) They make adventurous music together, getting off to a playful start with a ghoulish, cajun-tinged reading of "Whatever Lola Wants," from the show Damn Yankees. Often they wholeheartedly embrace a backbeat, even nodding unabashedly toward funk and rock on tracks like "Tronz," "Karnish," and Charlie Parker's "Red Cross." Granelli's melodic gift comes to the fore on originals like "Crawl," "Lane" (with Bob Hoffnar guesting on pedal steel), and the highly abstract "El Leo Nora." Quirky and even a bit freakish, yet quite accessible.

David R. Adler (All Music)

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 "Lane" with a Nashville flavor with his wistful pedal steel guitar work.
The musicians chart a course of quirkily fabricated themes and whispery choruses, although they provide an edge largely due to their unorthodox voicings and intermittent injections of humor and wit. They finalize the recording with a cacophonous, free improv fest on "Figure 1." Overall, El Oh El Ay is a fun outing, as the respective artists' distinct musical personalities provide that winning formula.

Glenn Astarita (All About Jazz)


1 commentaire:

Lucky a dit…

funny, i took my blogger-name also from hank mancini's tv-theme, first as "mr. lucky", later shortened to "lucky". as another reference to "mr. lucky" i once had a picture of a reversed greenish cary grant as avatar - he played "mr. lucky" in an earlier movie version.

with tronzo and other great folks in the line-up, this certainly should arouse interest - despite the anonymous band title, the relative obscure band leader and the 'childish' cover art!