Although he appeared on countless R&B and soul-jazz sessions in the 1960s and early 1970s, Melvin Sparks has recorded only sporadically as a leader over the years. The late 1990s found the swinging, Grant Green-influenced guitarist recording for the Minneapolis-based Cannonball label and playing much the same type of groove-oriented organ-combo music he'd been embracing 25 and 30 years earlier. Recalling his work with Charles Earland, I'm a 'Gittar' Player employs Ron Levy on the Hammond B-3 and offers a very accessible fusion of jazz, R&B, blues and pop that often sounds like it could have been recorded in 1970. The only thing letting you know that this decent, enjoyable CD wasn't recorded back then is some Salt-N-Pepa-ish rapping that Sparks' daughters Ayisha and Idrissa provide on a remake of KC & the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight." Otherwise, a retro outlook prevails. From the Latin-influenced "Jiggy" (which bears a definite resemblance to War's 1970 hit "Spill the Wine") to congenial numbers like "Sparkling," "Taste the Flavor" and "Mr. Texas," I'm a 'Gittar' Player demonstrates that jazz can have commercial appeal and pop leanings without sacrificing the type of spontaneity and blues feeling that make it jazz in the first place.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson