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Melvin Sparks Band: What You Hear Is What You Get

Veteran guitarist Melvin Sparks recorded prolifically as a sideman on many classic soul-jazz recordings during the ’60s and early ’70s, and on What You Hear Is What You Get (Nectar), he and his organ combo host their own infectiously funky soul-jazz party. While this skilled ensemble jams with palpable good spirits throughout the recording, it’s Sparks’ sturdy rhythm support and dexterous Grant Green-esque solos that really highlight the tracks. The album opens with the rollicking “Another Joe,” then moves on to the lively title track, which features some agile fingerwork from Sparks. The hard-grooving “The Governor” features a gritty solo by single-named tenor saxophonist Topaz, while the soul-soaked “Matter of Time” includes a chewy B-3 solo by guest organist Reuben Wilson. Sparks provides raspy vocals to two remakes: a spirited take on James Brown’s “Funky Good Time” and a rousing version of the chestnut “Money.”

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