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Louie Shelton: Urban Culture

Guitarist Louie Shelton’s minimalist yet memorable hooks have lifted hits by such luminaries as Diana Ross, Neil Diamond and Whitney Houston over the years. His talents take center stage on Urban Culture, the debut release for Shelton’s own label. With a spindly, sweet-toned attack, Shelton’s guitar guides a range of urban-tinged compositions, from the shuffling “Street Walkin’,” featuring some of the guitarist’s most skittering, notey runs, to the jamming “Inner City Blues,” which finds Shelton spinning low-range webs over a unique bass walk. Shelton’s straight sound is bell clear on sunny, uptempo pieces like “Mandalay Sunset,” a bemused conversation with Mark Douthit’s soprano sax, “Uptown,” with its stylish licks and bluesier colors, and the pumping grooves of “Magic Moments.” Even when the arrangements are a bit muddy, as on the slightly tinny “Teardrops,” Shelton’s pointed, finely crafted phrases provide consistent rays of light.

Originally Published