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Royce Campbell: Pitapat

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Henry Mancini’s longtime guitarist, Campbell has in recent years issued a series of solo albums that show him to be a swinging, fluid player with a decidedly straightahead bent. For this mix of standards and originals, he places himself in the capable hands of bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Akira Tana, who lay down solid time while remaining loose and spontaneous.

Revealing the influence of Wes Montgomery, Campbell’s playing frequently features articulate, bluesy lines (“A Sharp Blues”) and sleek octave and chordal work (“I Should Care,” “How Deep Is the Ocean”). Comfortable in a variety of settings, he carves a solid groove when tackling a bright tempo like that of “No Big Deal,” gets lyrical on Latin treatments of “You Stepped Out Of a Dream” and “It Could Happen to You,” lightly waltzes his way through “Yesterdays,” and exposes his reflective side on “I’m Glad There Is You,” a sophisticated guitar solo. Nothing but fine, solid playing throughout.