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Rick Latham: Groove Doctors

True to their self-titled album, Rick Latham and his tight ensemble prove themselves Groove Doctors (RLP) on a collection of whirlwind tracks that touch on a range of styles, from funk to gospel. The foundation for these textured tunes is Latham’s rock-solid rhythmic invention-from the big, tribal beats foregrounding the raucous road tune “I’m Looped” to the change-up fusion rhythms of “Funky Vail,” with its bass bustle and circular keyboard effects. Latham’s stellar supporting cast builds some colorful settings from those foundations. Details like Mack Dougherty’s prickly guitar lead on “Back It Up,” and strutting horn hits on the bluesy “Bonnie’s Song” work the grooves through complement and contrast. Highlights from this diverse set include the pop-gospel of “Slinky,” with busy rhythm complementing a long-lined, intriguing melody; and “You and I,” which diverts from the typical R&B ballad format through Glenn Berger’s alto sax exclamations and Latham’s slamming opening rhythms. Only “A Little More Loving” surrenders somewhat to the formula, relying too heavily on a hokey vocal arrangement rather than letting the players shine.

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