Mel Brown

Blues for We

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Mel Brown's final Impulse! date is a pairing with arranger Artie Butler, whose kaleidoscopic soul grooves prove an inspired match with the guitarist's rootsy yet sophisticated approach. The title notwithstanding, Blues for We largely abandons all pretense of conventional blues idioms to couch Brown in a series of soul-jazz contexts that draw heavily on mainstream R&B formulas; the problem is the material, which spans from avant-garde jazz to bubblegum pop and stretches even a player of Brown's considerable range far past the point of no return. Sometimes a record can be too ambitious for its own good, and the reach of Blues for We definitely exceeds its grasp -- given the choice to pursue any number of directions, Brown sets off in all of them, and loses himself in the process.