Doc Powell - 97th &
Powell grew up in Spring Valley, a suburb of NY. He soon arrived in
New York in the desire to pursue the life of a musician. He moved to
Queens and was introduced to Mickells on 97th & Columbus, a jazz
Club on the upper westside of Manhattan.
"Anyone from Art Blackey and
the Jazz Messenger and George Benson to your more seasoned studio
musicians played in this club," Powell recalls. "The club
had entertainment seven days a week. That was the place record
companies went to hear who the top studio musicians were."
This album is dedicated to Doc's
heritage, his roots and musical neighborhood. It's Doc's seventh
contemporary jazz project and his debut release on Heads Up
International / DPR Music Group.
The album starts with
a Latin influenced piece showcasing Doc's prowess in playing electric
classical guitars. Fourplay member Harvey Mason (drums) and Grammy
award winner Marcus Miller (bass) are his dream-partners.
The Bobby Womack tune Breezin' is a
tribute to George Benson, the legendary pioneer of contemporary jazz
to whom Doc has a strong connection. "When I finished high
school, George Benson signed a letter of recommendation for me to go
to college," Doc reminds. "Ever since we met, he's been a
big supporter of my career and my playing." Doc's playing is
close to the original but he adds ornaments and grace-notes. Patrice Rushen on
acoustic piano and Sekou Bunch on bass are the right players for this
The title track 97th
& Columbus is featuring saxophonist Ron Brown who adds a
choir of alto, tenor and soprano saxophone. Ron Brown is a native of
Austin, Texas, performing in such bands as Extreme Heat, Steam Heat,
and several others. In 1998, Ron formed his own label, ManKind
Records, and in April of 1999, he released his first CD under the
group name URBAN JAZZ NETWORK, entitled URBAN DREAMS, a celebration of
friendship and song. Harvey Mason is the master on drums again.
Hearts is a slow guitar tune where the romantic is suffering a
little under the hard drum programming.
One of EWF's
parade piece is Sun Goddess. This tune
written by Ramsey Lewis is probably played in by the best musicians
contemporary jazz can offer: Doc Powell (electric classical guitar),
Marcus Miller (electric bass), George Duke (Rhodes) framed by an
awesome sounding choir and string arrangement. "Ramsey is a very
important musician and innovative leader and I always wanted to record
this song because it is one of my favorites," Doc comments.
You Doc reaches the romantic vibes. A melodious tune with all
the necessary ingredients.
Jam is tailored on Patricia Rushen (piano), Harvey Mason
(drums) and Grammy nominated saxophonist Bennie
Maupin recorded with Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Roy
Haynes, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Herbie Hancock's headhunters
on which Bennie played the sax was sold more then 1 million copies.
To Chet is a
tribute to "Mister Guitar" Chet
Atkins. Atkins was a master player on guitar. His domain was
originally country music before he moved to jazz with his album
"Work It Out With Chet Atkins", in 1983. He did return to
country on occasion, particularly on duet albums with Mark Knopfler
and Jerry Reed. Doc 's ode is full of respect and honor.
Bound shows that
Doc isn't only a perfect guitarist but also a gifted arranger and
composer. His guitar is in the limelight.
of the most covered pieces in contemporary jazz is certainly Marvin
Remember cover versions of Everette
Harp (1997), Slim
Man , Pegasus
and many more. Doc's interpretation is a guitar highlight. The
background vocals and the vocal arrangements were made by Luther
Vandross. Doc gained his first international exposure with Luther. He
was also involved in many of Luther's biggest albums with
international success as "Forever", "For Always",
For Love", Stop To Love" or "Give Me the Reason".
"Luther always surrounded himself with the best musicians and was
blessed to have some great personalities who knew how to support his
career. Some of the greatest musicians aren't necessarily the best
supporting players," Doc explains.
Up International has gained a multi-seller. Congratulation!