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Various Artists – Cool Guitars

May 1, 2017

Composer/producer Steve Keitt brainstormed this release into existence in a big way. Working with artists like the prolific U-Nam (who’s on a production tear with such recordings as Valeriy Stepanov’s New Beginnings, Ty Causey’s Tyangles, and more to come), Keitt pulls together the ingredients for the EP Cool Guitars (he also co-wrote most of the material here as a project done in loving memory of the late great Ronny Jordan and Prince. Featured artists include – along with U-Nam – dee Brown, the late great Ronny Jordan (on a posthumous selection that’s so very Jordan), Mark Bowers, and Nick Morrison. U-Nam promises more project to follow; so, strap in and settle back.

Here on Cool Guitars, we get a varied selection of just that — cool guitar playing. A personal fave of mine, the guitar holds so much magic and serves as a wonderful springboard for ideas and the expression of firmly held emotions and vibes within one’s soul as I personally discovered over the years I played. Certainly, all of the greats through time – artists like Hendrix, Montgomery, Norman Brown, and George Benson — would all agree that this is one of the most powerful musical tools of expressive ever invented. Steve Keitt has done well to pull this project together with so many enthusiastic contributors, and the album captures the very essence of cool guitar.

With not a single track to dismiss here, the album gets at it with tracks like the up-tempo jazzy “New Cool” featuring U-Nam, “Astoria Park” featuring Bowers, Jordan’s “No Looking Back” (previously unreleased) featuring posthumously his sharp, nostalgic riffs, “Music is Music” featuring dee Brown, “You Get It Started” featuring Morrison, and the easy silk-funk of the mid-tempo closer “Cool the Groove” featuring Morrison and Vernon Clark.

A solid A+ effort that definitely deserves a place in your collection for those special moments in your life or daily activities that call for the cool groove. – Ronald Jackson