Melvin Sparks, guitar; Joe Herbek (Herbie J.) and Cochemea Gastalim, saxophone; Jeremy Baum and Adam Scone, organ; Eric Kalb, drums.
Melvin Sparks is known as an innovator of Acid Jazz but this CD is an adventurous excursion into soul and funk-infused Jazz.
The CD contains five tunes written by Melvin Sparks including the title cut "It Is What It Is" which features Adam Scone's grooving on the Hammond B3 organ. The Sly Stone tune "Thank You" is funky in a uniquely tasteful arrangement. "Charlie Brown" features Cochemea Gastalim improvising beautifully on saxophone and Sparks lays down some great rhythmic grooves on guitar. "Clinton Park" is a free-flowing instrumental that soars and Sparks harmonically punctuates the groove with his quicksilver guitar licks. "Got The Blues" has a soulful bent and Sparks is especially fluid on his guitar styling in this exquisite rendering.
My favorite tune is "Guitar Playah," a bluesy stretch with Melvin Sparks on vocals and an amazing Hammond B3 organ solo by Jeremy Baum--Sparks demonstrates his fluid guitar licks on this one.
This CD has a sense of propriety in its richness and is inspired easy listening. What takes it to another level is that each musician is given space to expound. This collaborative effort is good music however one would describe it.
by Dorothy L. Hill
New Sounds - September 2004
Jazz Now Interactive September 2004 Vol 14 No. 5 - Table of Contents