Dave Specter


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Dave Specter has featured singers on most of his albums; Sharon Lewis, Tad Robinson, Lynwood Slim, Lenny Lynn, and the late Barkin' Bill Smith are among the vocalists he has worked with along the way. But the Chicago-based guitarist opted to play instrumentals exclusively on 2000's Speculatin', and he does the same thing on the self-produced Spectified. There isn't a vocalist to be found on this late 2010 release, which favors an exciting blend of electric Chicago blues, jazz, and soul. Specter is in fine form throughout this 72-minute CD, and the jazz influence is as strong on Specter's own compositions as it is on inspired performances of Freddy King's "Wash Out" and Ma Rainey's "See See Rider." One thing that enhances the album's jazz appeal is the presence of two electric organists; Pete Benson plays on three of the tracks ("Blues Call," "Wash Out," and "Slick Pick"), and Brother John Kattke (who is also heard on piano) appears on most of the other tracks. The electric Hammond organ, of course, isn't strictly a jazz instrument; it has been used on plenty of rock and R&B sessions over the years. But jazz enthusiasts tend to associate the electric organ with the seminal Jimmy Smith and his numerous followers, and Specter's interactions with Kattke and Benson are certainly mindful of the soul-jazz groups that have been led by Smith, Jack McDuff, Charles Earland, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and other Hammond B-3 icons. There is also some awareness of organist Booker T. Jones and his instrumental soul group Booker T. & the MG's, who had their share of major hits in the '60s. When Speculatin' came out, Specter's followers predicted that it wouldn't be his last all-instrumental album; they were right, and Specter never fails to shine as an instrumentalist on the excellent Spectified.

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