Off the Record
Blue Note Records
Guitarist Ronny Jordan demonstrates mind-bending versatility on Off the Record (Blue Note 30267; 46:23), an intriguing ride through street grooves, retro soul, film noir intrigue and more. Jordan struts his smarts as well as his chops, exercising boogying, doodling, multiple-guitar lines over a swift groove on "On the Record," and soul-swapping intrigue on its companion piece, "Off the Record." He offers a tremulous, dark vibe on a simple melodic figure for a David Lynch-esque mood on "(The Theme From) Underworld," and throws off effortless jazz licks and chords on the bluesy "Floor and More." Urban beats and textures pulse just below the surface here, bubbling up in the rattling "No Pay, No Play," which highlights Jordan's jumping melodic play; and "Keep Your Head Up," an atmospheric soul gem utilizing the 1-2 punch of Fay Simpson's soaring vocals and Jordan's muted, ever-present guitar work for a truly uplifting piece.