How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A quick read of guitaristLouie Shelton’sbio attests to the fact that he is a talented, much in-demand session player. Over the years he’s worked with artists like The Monkees, The Jackson Five, The Partridge Family, Lionel Ritchie, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, and on and on. Urban Culture features the guitarist noodling through ten instrumental tracks, all Shelton originals. They used to call this sort of stuff “elevator music” or “Muzak” till some smart record executive tagged it with a new, less derisive, more palatable label – “Smooth Jazz.” Honestly, it’s hard to knock Shelton’s Wes Montgomery-inspired work on Urban Culture – it’s slick, well executed and pleasant. But jeez, it’s sooo boring! All rough edges are smoothed over, no one breaks a sweat and the tunes run together to create seamless, aural wallpaper. Turn it down low and play while you’re ironing or cooking dinner. Otherwise, Urban Culture is entirely disposable. ##
Track Listing: Mandalay Sunset; Uptown; No Secrets; Teardrops; Inner City Blues; Urban Culture; Boogaloo; Shirade; Street Walkin'; Magic Moments
Personnel: Louie Shelton (guitar); Pat McDonald (drums); Victor Wooten (bass); Leroy Ayers (keys); Jim Horn (saxes); Mark Douthit, Steve Herrman (trumpet); Steve Patrick (horns); Charles Rose (trombone)