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Larry Carlton: Deep Into It

Populated with spacious, mostly retro-soulful arrangements, Deep Into It (Warner Bros. 9 48006-2; 55:05) boasts some of Larry Carlton’s most pointed, interesting work in quite some time. The blues side is clearly inspiring to the master guitarist, whether he’s ripping spiky, spindly flourishes over a bed of horns on the slinky-cool “Like Butta’,” riffing on bent-note blues against whirling organ on the shuffling, big soul title track or playing needling licks in a pumping R&B jam cover of Joe Sample’s “Put It Where You Want It.” Even the ballads seem more spacious and purposeful-like the detailed soul and retro keyboards complementing Carlton’s silky guitar work on “Don’t Break My Heart.” A pop cover of Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It” also gives an elemental head-rush, thanks to Ricky Peterson’s purring, ringing keyboards and the angular blue soul delivery of Mr. Carlton. The album’s sole weak spot is a brief detour into gushy boudoir soul as Shai sings the Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why.”

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