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Melvin Sparks

Although not a huge name in jazz, Melvin Sparks brought his Grant Green-influenced guitar to quite a few soul-jazz and organ combo recordings of the late '60s and early '70s. A lover of jazz as well as R&B and blues, the Houston native took up the guitar at 11, and was only 13 when he sat in with B.B. King. In 1963 he joined the Upsetters, an R&B show band that backed Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and other big names. After leaving the Upsetters, Sparks played with Jack McDuff in 1966-1967. The improviser was very much in demand in the late '60s and early '70s, and he was featured on sessions by Charles Earland, Sonny Stitt, Lou Donaldson, Rusty Bryant, Sonny Phillips, Reuben Wilson, and Johnny "Hammond" Smith, among others. Sparks delivered his first album as leader, Sparks!, for Prestige in 1970, and recorded a few more Prestige dates before providing Melvin Sparks for Westbound in 1975.

When soul-jazz's fortunes declined in the mid-'70s, the guitarist wasn't working as much. The only album Sparks recorded as a leader in the '80s was 1981's Sparkling on Muse, although he was featured as a sideman on sessions by Houston Person, Hank Crawford, and Jimmy McGriff during that decade. The 1990s saw a lot of renewed interest in soul-jazz, and in 1997 Sparks returned to the studio for his Cannonball date I'm a Gittar Player. Although he continued to perform, Sparks did not return as a leader until 2002's What You Hear Is What You Get. He then followed up with 2004's It Is What It Is, 2005's This Is It!, and 2006's Groove on Up, all on Savant Records. Sparks died on March 15, 2011 at his home in Mt. Vernon, New York, of complications from diabetes and ultimately heart failure. He was 64 years old. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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This is why Pandora and other streaming sources are great, introducing artists that many of us have never heard before. Look st all the new fans Melvin got from Pandora alone.
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gmtcg
The young folks should hear this stuff!
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gmtcg
Very, Very Nice
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acucareface
Yes thanks for the intro, new to me..must find more Melvin!
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I love,love the cover of this album! Melvin seems to care much about our youth.We need more positive mentors like him.May The Lord bless & favor this brother in all his personal & musical endeavors! : )
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First time hearing him,not bad at all.
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Had one of the all times great solos on " I love you mote today than yesterday " Charles Erlamd " Black Talk.
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Melvins music live on through his old band mates in the band Sparkplug
Please check them out on Internet Archive.org!
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Gotta love Melvin Sparks man.....firs t heard him on a Karl Denson record....my buddy Bill Carbone was the drummer in the Melvin Sparks band...dude could shred his guitar yall.....Mel v i n you are missed !!!!
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flowers_l2
Flowers

You was the first music man i every knew, Clinton Park, Tx , Melvin i lesten to your music all the time. Did not know about your passing. Thank you for your music, your old friend Jimmie and Larry Flowers
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frankabun361
I got a chance to see Melvin Sparks in Newark NJ at the Original Key Club along with so many other great artists in the 70's. Always loved his playing.
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drfred8519
The organist playing on this piece "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" is Leon Spencer Jr, who played in a lot of soul jazz collaboratio n s in the 70's with Melvin Sparks, Lou Donaldson, & also as a leader; however, I can't find any of his work in Pandora- anyone know why?
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Wow. Thanks Pandora for introducing this guy to me. Love his tone!!
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Whee can I get his schedule? The MYspace link on his web site was blank.
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Nice grooves and lines!!!!
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rbevan4
Suhweeeeeeee e e e t !!!
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seen him play several times in boston...suc h a good live show!
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hillfncl
This man is super smooth. I really like his style.
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WOW!
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Nice jam for sure is dude really that old LOL I would love to hear the stuff that was made with Charles Earland must have been reall nice.
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spark me up. the sparkmaster general
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This is one smooth cat- RT Denver
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wanna thank joe hrbek for turning me on to melvin. thanks pandora too . mike from e.ruth nj
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oozie_87
very smooth, groovy and funky
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oh yeaaaaaaaaaa a a a a !!
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I can dig baby!
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Groovy, baby!
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mypearls98
You guy's are doing to much!! Keep it coming... Looks like this is going to be a perfect all across the board night!!!!!!! !
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This dude can play it. His sound is nice, a little funkier than grant green. I dig it. Can you dig it?

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