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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 anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.