Dennis Coffey

Evolution

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Dennis Coffey's Sussex label debut remains his most consistent and rewarding LP, not to mention his most commercially successful. Evolution delivers precisely what its title promises, spotlighting Coffey's growth as a guitarist and as a composer. Its infectious centerpiece "Scorpio" reached the R&B Top Ten, buoyed by Coffey's ear-grabbing guitar intro and a Hall of Fame drum break that is the source for an endless number of samples. The leadoff cut, "Getting It On," has proven no less fecund, its opening guitars and Andrew Smith's drums bit off by both the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. But Evolution also charts the development of Coffey's skills as an arranger, cherry-picking elements of rock, funk, and soul to create a unique sound not too far removed from jazz fusion. Somehow he even transforms Led Zeppelin's blues-rock behemoth "Whole Lotta Love" into a vacuum-packed funk groove.

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