Calvin Keys

Detours into Unconscious Rhythms

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In the 17 years since Calvin Keys issued his last date on Black Jazz -- among the hippest of underground groove jazz labels -- much of the scene has changed. When he went back to do session and live work with Ray Charles and Ahmad Jamal, the groove was hiding somewhere in basement clubs in England and dressing itself up with electronica references. Thankfully trends tend to be circular, and in coming around the roots of the funkier side of groove jazz, Keys' new set might have the opportunity to at least be heard by DJs. Detours Into Unconscious Rhythms stands with Keys' finest solo moments on Black Jazz; with the exception of the DJ scratching in places, one would never be able to distinguish what year this slab was waxed. Check the in-the-pocket bassline courtesy of Artis Joyce on "Potholes" lining up underneath Keys' funky, edgy accents and fills. Or note Chester Thompson's Hammond B3 strutting in alternate line counterpoint to Keys on "Detour," or the slippery, mystically reverbed Fender Rhodes of Kat Quano up against the scratch and arpeggio fest on "Urban Shaman." It's all straight-up and greasy-fried groove. Even the vocal tracks -- which are not a detriment, with Scheherazade Stone crooning on top of an in-the-pocket rhythmic hypnosis and Keys soloing in his best spiritual/gospel vibe -- move the listener to shuffle his or her feet and shake his or her ass. It's not hard to remember when recordings like this were denigrated for their accessibility; it's about time that someone celebrated them for the same reason. This is simply as good as it gets in the groove jazz arena: full of soul, soul, and yes, more soul.

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