by Willard Manus
The great guitarist Bill Frisell, subject of the documentary film which was reviewed in Lively Arts a few months ago, is one of the lead players on DANCE HALL, the superb CD recently released by Justin Time Records.
Fronting the band is drummer Jerry Granelli, who picked the eight tunes on the CD for urgent personal reasons. I had all of these songs memorized as a kid and every one of them meant something real to me, he said. With his son J. Anthony Granelli on electric bass, joined by Frisell and Robben Ford on guitars, the leader revisited Boogie Stop Shuffle, Driva Man, This Bitter Earth and Never Gonna Break My Faith. Then, after adding a fiery three-piece horn section to the mix, Granelli put his stamp on four more tunes, including Louis Jordans jumpin-for-joy version of Caledonia. Granelli, Frisell and Ford collaborated on the 1992, blues- oriented album, A Song I Thought I Heard Buddy Sing. That one was a winner and so is DANCE HALL, which features the vigorous work of some of the jazz worlds finest musicians.