Doc Powell: Cool Like That

Smooth-jazz guitarist Doc Powell exhibits his impressive versatility on Cool Like That (Heads Up), and he’s joined by a bevy of well-known friends. On the breezy “Push,” Powell’s nimble guitar is well matched by saxophonist Kirk Whalum’s lively harmonizing, and saxophonist Michael Lington and trumpeter Mark Ledford provide some horn spice on the mellow “Listen Up.” The title track features a dark, slinky groove, while on the tribal “Hatujambo (We Are Well),” Powell’s smooth guitar is propelled by Munyungo Jackson’s Moroccan drums. Powell presents a unique take on “Let It Be,” turning the Beatles classic into a swinging, soulful instrumental, and the album also includes a vocal version of the song. Pianist Kevin Toney skillfully accompanies Powell’s classical guitar on the pretty, rhythmically shifting ballad “Sweet G,” although a solo from Toney-a master of melody himself-would have really enhanced the tune.