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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

DR. LONNIE SMITH with DAVID “FATHEAD” NEWMAN

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published May 5, 2006

Boogaloo To Beck
Scufflin’

First off, this is a tribute to neither jazz guitarist Joe Beck nor rock guitarist Jeff Beck, but the alt-rock star born Beck Hansen. Second, although Dr. Smith gets top billing, this entire project was conceived, produced and arranged by Doug Monro, a younger and more obscure guitarist. That said, this is an extremely satisfying soul-jazz affair. The good doctor says the session reminded him of the good ol’ days on Blue Note, and the loose good-time sound proves it. Monro holds his own with these jazz giants (tenor saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman is only on half the cuts), his solos engaging and inventive. The young drummer, Lafrae Sci, also handles herself well, locking into the type of tight groove that virtually defined early ’70s jazz. Beck may seem a strange choice to cover, since some of his biggest hits were built on samples, but the melodies lend themselves well to improvisation.