Howard Roberts / Howard Roberts Quartet

H.R. Is a Dirty Guitar Player

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Although Howard Roberts isn't given a lot of room to burn on these 12 airplay-length cuts -- all are three minutes or less, which was about all Capitol chose to tolerate in those days -- burn he does in this stimulating, soulful quartet session. Freely mixing recent hits ("Watermelon Man," "If Ever I Would Leave You"), big-band standards ("Satin Doll," "Li'l Darlin'"), bossa novas ("One Note Samba"), and several originals, Roberts and his silky-toned guitar are always fluid, tasty, and swinging, perhaps benefiting from the tight time limits. Last track "Dirty Old Bossa Nova" is also the best, a really insinuating swampy riff (hence the LP's title). Backing Roberts is the sharp rhythm team of Burkley Kendrix (organ), Chuck Berghofer (bass), and Earl Palmer (drums). The liner notes by plectrum co-conspirator Jack Marshall are pretty droll, featuring groan-inducing noms des plumes like the Italian actress Lynn Guini and baseball manager Pop Flies. Ooh, dat's corny....

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