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Calvin Keys: Detours Into Unconscious Rhythms

Legendary guitarist Calvin Keys returns to the fray with a retro-road trip worth taking in Detours Into Unconscious Rhythms. A veteran known for work with Ray Charles and Ahmad Jamal, among others, Keys enlists the help of a hardworking core of San Francisco musicians in recreating a heavy-funk vibe that will take some listeners back. Instantly recognizable are the lumbering rhythms, Hammond emphasis and improvisational fun of “Aunt Lovey ’99.” This opening tune also establishes Keys’ guitar tone, which is pointed and bluesy as ever. The likeable adventure takes trips to such unique destinations as “Landing Pad,” boasting ’60s style sci-fi sound effects mixed in a rubberband funk melee, and “Potholes,” with rotating rhythms and melody lines lending a tricky-timed, Caribbean flavor. The album’s only vocal track, “Detour,” is pure beat poetry, as Scheherazade Stone’s cool vocalese follows the laid-back, blue-funk trail laid by the band, warbling affecting lyrics like, “It’s how we learn to face mountains/That we find depth in direction/Following detours.” A similar effect is achieved through the mystic keyboards and wicked bent-note guitar licks of “Urban Shaman,” crafting an abstract, yet attractive sound similar to psychedelic rock.

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