Melvin Sparks

Genres: Jazz
Tags: jazz funk soul-jazz soul groove jazz blues hard bop guitar Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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22 March 1946, Houston, Texas, USA. A leading session player and occasional recording artist, this New York-based guitarist was one of the leading figures in the soul jazz boom of the late 60s and early 70s. Sparks, whose mother ran a live music venue in Houston, grew up surrounded by the sound of jazz and blues. At the age of 13 he jammed with B.B. King, and while still in high school worked with ‘Big’ Joe Turner and Hank Ballard. Sparks joined the renowned back-up band the Upsetters in 1963, going on to work with, among others, Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and the Supremes. In 1967, Sparks moved to New York in order to pursue his jazz career and shortly afterwards joined Brother Jack McDuff’s combo. Spells with Lonnie Smith, Reuben Wilson, and Lou Donaldson followed, with Sparks appearing on several of the latter’s classic Blue Note Records’ recordings.

In the early 70s Sparks joined the...

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