Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sparks fly from this record

MELVIN SPARKS illuminates every record I hear with him featured, if you'll pardon the pun.
I've liked the jazz guitarist since hearing him on a pair of LONNIE SMITH classic albums, "Think!" and "Turning Point."

Now, I'm listening to him on LOU DONALDSON'S 1970 album "EVERYTHING I PLAY IS FUNKY" (which coincidentally also includes organist Smith).

Sparks was 11 when he began playing guitar and the Houston native was 13 when he sat in with B.B. King. After backing numerous R&B acts, Sparks became an in-demand player on the soul-jazz scene of the late 1960s.

Moments of brilliance leap out of the records that featured Sparks. His solo on the Donaldson tune "Donkey Walk" is particularly enjoyable, and seems to provide a template for funk guitarists to follow later in the decade.
I enjoy hearing him whenever I get the chance.


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