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24 Jun 2017

Melvin Sparks ‎ "It Is What It Is" US 2004 Soul Jazz




Melvin Sparks ‎ "It Is What It Is" US  2004 excellent Soul Jazz Funk

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Guitarist Melvin Sparks keeps 1970s-style funky soul-jazz alive on this set, which is filled with catchy grooves, fine ensemble playing, and soulful solos. Heading a quartet that features tenor saxophonist Joe Herbek (Cochemea Gastalim takes his place on "Charlie Brown"), organist Jeremy Baum (replaced by Adam Scone on two numbers), and drummer Eric Kalb, Sparks performs likable and very danceable music. The one fault to the date is the sameness of much of the R&B-ish material (the guitarist wrote five of the nine selections), but this CD is excellent for parties and as infectious background music......by Scott Yanow...all music................

. . . which is probably why I resisted it for so long. Then again, with its best practitioners--and Melvin Sparks ranks among the very best--there's a kinda weird mojo-thang happening that just can't be denied.
Soul-jazz, that what we be talkin'. Guitar, organ, sax, drums. The classsic format.
When it works, it do sompin, in a visceral, no-brainer kinda way, to yo' body. When it don't, it be like when you buy bacon on what you see in the package window--but they faked you out, man, with a 75% fatty cut for the majority of the package, and it just so greasy that your microwave's slimy when you done zappin' it, and you got flavorful but cholesteral-cloggin' hell awaiting you on your plate. Know what I mean?
Well, Melvin Sparks--yeah, he be greasy, but he got the meat to back it up. Chops-heavy, rock-your-socks-off, visceral-to-the-max soul-jazz. Git-you-off-you-butt, mojo-magic, that's what he dealin'.
Dig.
If you caint, you be dead........By..Jan P. Dennis...........

Another Melvin Sparks album, another jazz-funk date. As the title of his new album suggests, guitarist Sparks makes no apology for the stylistic redundancy of his recordings. And at least you can, in most cases, count on the funk being potent and infectious. What he lacks in versatility, he makes up for it in consistency. And one of the advantages of a discography with so many similar entries is that nearly every disc functions as a good entry point to not just Sparks’ lickety-split guitar picking but to the entire soul-jazz idiom.

As you’d expect, Sparks’ music is heavy on riffs and grooves and is perfectly accented with gospel-inflected Hammond B3 organ accompaniment. The tried and true works delightfully on his blue-collar makeover of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin” on which his incisive guitar cuts chunky riffs alongside sax statements made by Cochemea Gastalim and Joe Herbek, and on George Benson’s R&B hit “Give Me the Night.” Originals like the low-down “A Love Jam” evoke an early-’70s sleaziness that’ll surely appeal to the Stones Throw Records set, while the humorous “Guitar Playah,” which features Sparks’ funky vocals, could certainly become a hit among the jam-band crowd.

There’s hardly a lick, groove or melody here that you haven’t heard (or thought you’ve heard) a million times before. Thing is, Sparks already knows this and doesn’t care.............By John Murph........jazz times.............

The living legend is more prominent than ever as this new CD reflects his sensational talent for innovation and heart-pounding boogaloo stylings. With many new originals and some reinterpreted bouncing versions of tunes by Sly Stone, George Benson, and Average White Band, this disc is a masterwork destined to be an all-time favorite funk record!.................

Credits
Drums – Eric Kalb
Guitar – Melvin Sparks
Organ – Adam Scone (tracks: 1 & 5 only), Jeremy Baum (tracks: except 1 & 5)
Saxophone – Cochemea Gastelum (tracks: 3 only), Joe Herbek (Herbie J.) (tracks: except 3)

Tracklist
1 It Is What It Is 5:37
2 Thank You 7:06
3 Charlie Brown 5:43
4 A Love Jam 3:18
5 Clinton Park 6:16
6 Guitar Playah 7:29
7 Got The Blues? 4:13
8 Pick Up The Pieces 5:42
9 Give Me The Night 5:34 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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