Melvin Sparks

This Is It!

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Guitarist Melvin Sparks' quintet date is a throwback to late-'60s funky soul-jazz. The pieces are bluesy and funky without being blues, and fall between jazz and R&B grooves. Sparks plays well if predictably and his obscure backup band (which has a background vocal from Nikki Armstrong on "Give Your Life to G-d") performs its parts well and with spirit. All of the music is danceable without being overly simplistic and the solos usually last the optimum length of time. The results are quite accessible if somewhat lacking in surprises, played in a style that is very easy to like.

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