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Ken Hatfield and Friends Play the Music of Bill McCormick: To Be Continued…

Even listeners familiar with Ken Hatfield, the exceptionally gifted nylon-string guitarist, may well find this session a revelation in more ways than one. Granted, the album’s eight compositions, all written by Bill McCormick, provide a showcase for the skills Hatfield has displayed on previous recordings: the precise touch, the nimble phrasing, the ease with which he can make a Brazilian melody wax lyrical or seductive.

But thanks to McCormick’s consistently appealing yet wide-ranging contributions-and Hatfield’s inventive arrangements-To Be Continued … is as revealing as it is expansive. A delightful case in point is “El Camino Wes.” Turns out, McCormick first encountered Hatfield in the early ’70s, back when Hatfield was toting around an archtop guitar and in thrall to the genius of Wes Montgomery. It’s a real treat to hear Hatfield in this McCormick-fashioned tribute to Montgomery, playing popping single-note choruses contributing to a soul-jazz groove.

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