Straight-ahead guitar from a veteran will do it every time. Ed Cherry's latest recording brings back the spirit of the jazz organ combo. Influences such as Grant Green and Wes Montgomery make themselves known right away. Cherry also credits Sonny Sharrock and Jimi Hendrix among his influences. His "Woo!/Sharrock" rocks the joint in tribute, with high-energy, electronic power. The guitarist settles into a powerful groove and seems to have fun ripping one way and the next. Partners Joe Ford and Lonnie Smith share the solo spots with Cherry. From a funky James Brown scene on "Joe's Thing," to the laid-back blues of "Top Hat," the quartet digs deeply into different recollections. Singer Laird Jackson, with a smoky, alto voice, adds two lovely ballads. Her appearance serves to reinforce the album's contemporary swing element.
Ed Cherry's experience includes 14 years with Dizzy Gillespie. His mainstream chops underscore that period and run much earlier, through Cherry's early listening tastes. But, the guitarist also grew up listening to a funkier, more adventuresome array. Hence, his well-rounded program. By paying his respects to all the spirits, the guitarist has created a session that everyone can enjoy.
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