Cal Collins

S'Us Four

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Cal Collins gained some recognition in the 1970s for his recordings with Concord, but he left the national spotlight the following decade to settle in his native Cincinnati. For this excellent effort by a quartet consisting of guitarists Collins and Kenny Poole, bassist Michael Moore and drummer Jimmy Madison, Collins' swinging style and mellow tone are virtually unchanged from his earlier days, and his playing is very complementary to producer Poole's. So complementary are the lead voices that it is often difficult to tell who is playing what, a question that is rendered ultimately irrelevant. What is important is that the guitarists' interplay generates plenty of sparks, both with each other and with Moore and Madison. In addition to some notable standards ("Broadway," "The End of a Beautiful Friendship," "Scrapple From the Apple" and "Cherry"), there are a lot of offbeat choices in the repertoire, including "The Big Hurt" (recorded once by Wes Montgomery), Jimmy Giuffre's "Two for Timbuktu," "One Mint Julep," Michael Franks' "Down In Brazil" and a waltz version of "I Love Lucy." This is very easy music to enjoy, both in the background and for close listening.

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