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Ed Hamilton: Groovology

A capable guitarist who also feels the need to take the “one man band” approach of taking on keyboards and percussion programming, Ed Hamilton offers a mixed bag on Groovology (Shanachie 5047; 44:22), mysteriously emphasizing the artificially wrought grooves over his own effortless, melodic guitar licks. Hamilton’s guitar talents are at the center of originals like the graceful acoustic “Souls Felt” and smoky blues “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time,” but their effect is blunted by extra synthesizer and thin, unsupportive drum programs. His fleet-fingered melody soars on “J.J.’s Groove,” despite some sputtering, heaving keyboard threads. With some more live musicians playing off his cues, Hamilton wouldn’t have to work nearly so hard. An album-opening cover of “Fly Like an Eagle” shows the guitarist’s potential through contrast; his smooth-toned play slides across the refrain like glass, while a picked solo lends prickly bite. All this in spite of a corny slap-track program.

Originally Published