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Rob Whitlock: Sketchin’ 2

Keyboardist Rob Whitlock’s latest release is the culmination of a two-year recording session that brought together jazz artists from both coasts, including Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Henderson, Anthony Jackson, Michael Brecker, Cliff Almond and Pat Kelley. The music is rawer than the first installment but overall still offers a mélange of blues and fusion, with the fusion heavy on the rock side of the equation.

A true session project, on the CD Whitlock is content to sit back and watch his fine cast do their thing while occasionally bringing his B3 organ or acoustic keys into the game. Guitarist Henderson especially gets to show off his chops on “Gotta Insulator” and on Eddie Harris’ “Cold Duck Time,” his crunchy and bluesy rock guitar raising the tension of the compositions. Whitlock’s wife, Amber Whitlock, herself a professional, sings lead vocals and adds a dash of vocalese on the CD’s best track, “Them There Eyes.” Although Billie Holiday made the song famous, Whitlock is from the Diana Krall school of breathy vocals. Amber’s also the inspiration for Whitlock’s take on “Do I Love You,” a Cole Porter tune perfect for lovers and featuring Jackson’s wonderfully evocative contrabass guitar.

Originally Published