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Yet a further orbit

By J.A. Granelli and Mr. Lucky

Love Slave Records: 2003

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This review first appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of Turbula.

Continuing a family tradition of musical experimentation, bassist J.A. Granelli and his band, Mr. Lucky, have a second CD out that is absolutely worth a listen for anyone with an adventurous bone in their body – particularly if it's one of your middle ear bones.

On their second release, "Gigantic," Mr. Lucky continues where its 2001 album, "El Oh El Ay," left off: Combining gorgeous melodies and harmonies with some of the most out-there music going. Think Medeskie, Martin & Wood meet Henry Threadgill.

Except that while Mr. Lucky is far more adventuresome than MM&W, they're also much more focused on melody than Threadgill.

And so you get the best of both worlds – wild stuff to feed your head, good vibes to soothe the soul.

With the recent passing of Shawn Lane, Mr. Lucky's David Tronzo is now one of the most interesting guitarists around – alternatingly percussive and meandering, he is always trying something new on every song.

Jamie Saft (who has also played with J.A. Granelli's father, drummer Jerry) brings a certain grounding in funk on organ and keyboards, although his solos can get just as inside-out as Tronzo.

Granelli and drummer Diego Voglino lay down a variety of backbeats, with Granelli also taking lead from time to time.

Finally, on a cover of the disco hit "If I Can't Have You" that the band turns into a deep dirge, Vanessa Saft contributes a vocal that is so utterly plaintive you'll probably laugh at the supposed feeling in Yvonne Elliman's original version should you ever hear it again.