Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 72

COLUMN Fretprints
ESSENTIAL
LISTENING
Sparks, Spark Plug, Texas
Twister, and '75 are four classics from his most productive
period. Sparkling is definitive
jazz work, Live at Nectar's is
a posthumous concert, and
Groove On Up (his last studio
release) reasserts his soul-jazz
persona.

ESSENTIAL
VIEWING
A wealth of Sparks clips
are posted online; highlights
include "Everything I Play Is
Funky," "Dance Lesson 2"
with Karl Denson, numerous
performances with cohort
Bill Carbone, a close look at
his rhythm work on "Funky
As You Want It," blues playing
from a Boston Beehive date,
and a lengthy 2002 New Jersey
concert.

SOUND
Throughout his career,
Sparks favored hollowbody
archtop electrics including a
blond Ibanez copy in the mid
'70s and '80s. The instrument
is seen and heard on Texas
Twister, '75, and Sparkling. He
played a sunburst Epiphone
Broadway reissue on I'm
A Gittar Player, and in the
new millennium moved to
top-line Gibson archtops. He
favored a sunburst L-5 CES on
What You Hear Is What You
Get and a sunburst Super 400
CES on Groove On Up and
Live at Nectar's. After 2010, he
Where there's Sparks, there's fire! The groovemodern jazz version of the vamp. Check out the
also played a blond Eastwood
master turned in an impressive performance on
pentatonic opening phrases that quickly give
Doral archtop. He played
Sparkling and this was a high point of the session.
way to modern intervallic episode exploiting
various combo amps and was
Marking a return to jazz after a decade of soul
fourths in measures 5-7. Sparks' digression to Eb
often seen in concert using a
and commercial music, he rose to the occasion
minor in 10-12 stretches the modality and leads
blackface Fender Twin.
with "Hassan," a straight-ahead blowing tune in
to an intriguing "outside" deflection momentarily
Sparks employed an ocBb minor taken at a smokin' pace. The track finds
implying Db minor in 13. He closes the section in
tave-box prominently on
him blending pentatonic, post-bop, and modal
16 with a familiar hard-bop ending lick endemic
Texas Twister, varying the
sounds over the static minor tonal center - a
to John Coltrane and Charlie "Bird" Parker.
level to be clearly present, as
on "Gathering Together." At
and the neck pickup for richer solo lines and and columnist who has been influential in contemporary
other times, he lowered the output for a
music education since the early 1980s. His latest releases
a jazz tone.
more-subtle shadowing impression. He
include 101 Must-Know Rock Licks, B.B. King: the Definitive
often worked his pickup toggle to switch
Collection, and Best of Jazz Guitar. Wolf's list of credits
Wolf Marshall is the founder and original editor-inbetween the middle position for funk
can be found at wolfmarshall.com.
chief of GuitarOne magazine and a respected author
rhythms or a slightly "phased" tone,

VINTAGE GUITAR

72

June 2018


http://www.wolfmarshall.com http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IFC
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