The latest release from this talented guitarist on Heads Up will come as welcomed news to his fans. The self-titled disc has nine new cuts and features some pleasant surprise artists from the smooth jazz genre. “Me, Myself, and Rio” is worth the price of admission right away. You will not get past this infectious foot stomper until you’ve listened to it a few times. The horn section keeps this one light and lively and punches the catchy guitar riffs to a nice mix. Bobby Lyle’s is on board and helps keep everything moving along nicely. Doc even adds a little bit of scat for fun. Nice arrangement. “It’s Too Late” is the track you’ve been hearing so much about. The Carole King classic features both Brian Culbertson and Kirk Whalum and played pretty close to the original.
“Let Go” is a nice vehicle for both Powell’s classical and electric guitar. It never really gets in a hurry and Powell keeps it light and fresh throughout. “Circumstances” takes a more deliberate approach. Powell lays down the synth bass and drum programming while Jerome Harmon does the same with both strings and string arrangements. Add in a little keyboard and guitar by Doc and you have a nice mix. “Cab Ride” begins with layered keyboard before being accented with light trumpet (Matt Cappy) and Doc’s guitar. The movement here is slow and deliberate like a cab ride through Manhattan. Doc’s keyboards here give it that same feel. “Hip Pocket” moves along at a nice pace while serving as a showcase for Powell’s multi-talents. It has a Carlton like feel to it. “Hey” is rather funky while laid back. The occasional vocal shouts of the title are nice touches.
The pace picks up again for “Another Place and Time.” It is only the second up-tempo song on the disc. Powell displays some of his best playing here while this one moves along nicely. An unplugged version of “It’s Too Late” closes the set.
For fans of this smooth jazz guitarist, this is a nice addition to your collection. With this being his tenth recording, Doc looks back with thankfulness on a career that “has been a the blessing to work, share and learn from people who have characteristics that money can’t buy and a hit record can’t make.” Be sure to check it out soon.
- Harvey Cline