Pat Kelley

In the Moment

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One of the greatest, most versatile, and sadly underrated Los Angeles contemporary jazz guitarists, Kelley has made a unique solo career out of bouncing back and forth between energetic and highly melodic pop-jazz, and more expressive fusion efforts like this one. Perhaps the happy schizophrenia has made him hard to peg, but no matter the subgenre, he's always living up to the title of this jamming disc. Several years ago, Lee Ritenour paid homage to Wes Montgomery on a project called Wes Bound, and Kelley's crafty work on projects like these show an obvious discipleship too. The point of this disc was to capture what the guitarist calls the "intoxicating feel" that his band has when it plays live. Copping from a famous movie song, what a feeling! His Roger Borys guitar holds sway over the energetic swing of Ernest Tibbs' bass and John Ferraro's drum kit. "Jungle Highway" rolls along with crisp Kelley improv over the simmering blues bed of Rob Whitlock's Hammond B-3. That song, and the similarly feisty "Minor Sixth Sense," are buoyed by the all at once punchy and thoughtful saxes of Andy Suzuki. Kelley and company show off their romantic side on "Lover's Waltz," which is driven by Ferraro's relentless high-hat. This gentle vibe is more fully realized on the sweet, meditational closing track "Mother and Daughter," dedicated to Kelley's wife and little girl. These quieter moments are balanced by the locomotive "Rapid Transit," and the happy strutting of "Walkin With Grace"; unrestrained by the limits radio must put on Kelley's smooth jazz efforts, he and the boys stretch out to seven and eight minutes, respectively. A phenomenal live, in-the-moment experience.

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