Melvin Sparks

It Is What It Is

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    7
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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.

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