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Legendary Soul/Jazz/Funk guitarist Melvin Sparks died yesterday due to complications from diabetes. He was 64 years old.
Sparks was noted for his pioneering Acid Jazz guitar style in the 60s and 70s, influencing generations of musicians in his wake, including Galactic, The Greyboy Allstars, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Derek Trucks, Robert Randolph, Eric Krasno and more.
In addition to his groundbreaking work as a bandleader, Melvin was a prolific session player for labels such as Blue Note and Prestige, appearing on tracks by Lou Donaldson, Johnny Hammond Smith, Jack McDuff, Hank Crawford, Charles Earland, Leon Spencer, Lonnie Smith among others.
Watch the live footage below as we remember Melvin Sparks.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.