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Rockin’ Rick Derringer Goes Soft

If jazz fans rolled their eyes when Kenny G. dropped a sample of Louis Armstrong into his version of “What a Wonderful World,” classic-rock fans will surely have fits when they hear their cherished “Rock-n-Roll Hootchie Koo” redone in super-slick smooth jazz. And how are the rockers going to feel when I tell them that the man who smoothed the edges of the overplayed tune is Rick Derringer (pictured), the very man who in the ’70s made “Hoochie” such a big hit? Say it ain’t so, Ricky, say it ain’t so.

Indeed it is so, and smooth jazz gains a guitarist of considerable skill in Derringer, who has lent his talents to top-selling acts like Steely Dan and Barbara Streisand. Derringer’s remake of “Hootchie Koo” (re-titled “Jazz Koo”) can currently be heard on smooth-jazz radio and is one of eleven tracks on his first release as a jazz artist, Free Ride, to be released by Big3 Records on Sept. 17.

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