Sunday, October 2, 2016

Howard Roberts - 1969 - Spinning Wheel

Howard Roberts 
Spinning Wheel

01. Spinning Wheel 2:11
02. Country Scuffle 3:13
03. Gasoline Alley 2:35
04. Bros. Of Serendipity 3:42
05. More Today Than Yesterday 3:12
06. Cantaloupe Island 3:25
07. Captain Bacardi 4:08
08. Crystal Illusions 5:22

Bass – Chuck Domanico
Drums – John Guerin
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Howard Roberts
Piano, Electric Piano, Organ – Dave Grusin
Saxophone, Flute – Tom Scott

Producer – David Axelrod

For those who are not familiar with Howard Roberts, he was a highly respected and talented jazz guitarist who also recorded on a fair number of sound tracks for TV shows and movies, such as Bullitt. He played very tastefully and with a very nice tone. His guitar sound was usually quite pleasant and at the same time, complex. Most of the material that he released as a solo artist consisted of songs that rarely exceeded three to four minutes in length. So, there were rarely extended solos and improvisations, although what he did play was never boring. Most of his Capitol releases seemed to be directed at both jazz listeners as well as adults who enjoyed pop. I guess that the idea was to be successful commercially. Some, certainly not all, of the tunes could have been acceptable on easy listening radio stations.

On this LP, he was accompanied by Dave Grusin on keyboards and a young Tom Scott on tenor sax. Of course, there was also a bass and drummer. The title track, "Spinning Wheel," was a hit for Blood Sweat and Tears. Some of the other notable songs on this release are Crystal Illusions, which was a hit for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66, and Herbie Hancock's composition, "Cantaloupe Island." Kai Winding does a better version (my opinion only) of this song on his LP, Dirty Dog, which unfortunately, never made it to CD. Finally, in my view, the highlight of this CD is the version of "More Today Than Yesterday," which was a big success for the Spiral Starecase. Mr. Roberts' guitar really impresses on this one. It's a nice tune; I never met anyone who disliked the song.

If you are studying the guitar or just enjoy listening to it, I recommend this CD. The running time is fairly short and it's pricey because it's a Japanese import that might be difficult to find in time. No Howard Roberts collection would be complete without it!

Excellent soul jazz guitar set. Check Canteloupe Island - heavy!

1 comment: