Calvin Keys – Shawn-Neeq (Remastered) (1971/2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 36:23 minutes | 721 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Black Jazz Records
Originally released on the influential label Black Jazz in 1971, guitarist Calvin Keys’ debut is a stone classic waiting to be re-discovered. The funky, deep grooves and Calvin’s singular guitar stylings, coupled with a heady collaborative feel that inhabits so many early ’70’s jazz recordings, are all on beautiful display.
Calvin’s musical roots originate in his hometown of Omaha, NE, playing with legends like Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson. Shortly after the release of his debut LP ‘Shawn-Neeq’, Calvin was hired to tour and record with Ray Charles. By the mid-70’s, Calvin was working steadily with pianist Ahmad Jamal on the road and in the studio. Since settling in the Bay Area in the mid-70’s, Calvin has recorded numerous solo albums and played with many greats, including Taj Mahal, Bobby Hutcherson, Big John Patton and Dr. Lonnie Smith. In 2007, fellow Midwesterner and big fan Pat Metheny included the song “Calvin’s Keys” on his album, ‘Day Trip’.
“Calvin Keys is a world-class jazz guitarist – and more. The 70-year-old Bay Area resident has worked extensively with Ahmad Jamal, spent a couple of years in the employ of Ray Charles, and held his own in the fast company of Joe Henderson, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Stitt, Red Holloway, and many others. Pat Metheny saluted him with an original composition called ‘Calvin’s Keys,’ found on his album Day Trip. For decades, Keys has evidenced considerable facility and conviction as a blues player, too. Back in the soul jazz 1960s, he was in organ trios led by such blues-savvy notables as Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Charles Earland, and Brother Jack McDuff. Always open-minded, the native Nebraskan has even worked with Luther Vandross and MC Hammer. To date, Keys has made 11 albums under his own name. One of the most radiant is his debut, Shawn-Neeq, originally issued in 1973. The album came in the wake of the soul jazz era when Miles Davis’ startling shift into a Sly Stone-informed electric-jazz swept over musicians and hip listeners like a tsunami. Thanks to the Black Jazz label, Keys did his part in delivering good Miles-influenced jazz-funk to record buyers, music that has aged surprisingly well. Throughout Shawn-Neeq, Keys’ guitar shows him to be a close stylistic ally of two guitarists with a similar soul jazz pedigree: Grant Green and George Benson. His pentatonic, bluesy riffs and occasional ‘outside’ sounds grace songs based on riffs or chords. The man plays with control and confidence.” (Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat)
1. Calvin Keys – B. E.
2. Calvin Keys – Criss Cross
3. Calvin Keys – Shawn-Neeq
4. Calvin Keys – Gee-Gee
5. Calvin Keys – B. K.