News

Acid Jazz great Melvin Sparks passes away

By , Editor | The Jazz Line

Melvin Sparks, the legendary acid jazz guitarist, passed away at his home in Mt. Vernon, New York, due to complications from diabetes. He was 64 years old.

The Legendary Jazz/Funk guitarist was noted for his pioneering efforts in the development Acid Jazz during the 60’s and 70’s.

Sparks’ long time friend Annabel Lukins spoke to Jambands about his influence, saying “As the acid jazz style he helped to pioneer enjoyed a revival in the ‘90s, its new generation reached out to Sparks with heartfelt reverence. He made regular rounds at venues around the Northeast, including multiple shows at the Wetlands. He was a father-figure and a groove guru to music lovers and musicians alike.”

In addition to being an innovative bandleader, Sparks was also a well regarded session guitarist for labels such as Blue Note and Prestige. He has been featured on tracks by Hank Crawford, Lonnie Smith, and Lou Donaldson, Etta James, and Houston Person, to name but a few.

Sparks began his recording career in 1970, with the release of the soul-jazz album ‘Sparks!’ on the Prestige label. He went on to release ten more albums as a bandleader, the latest of which ‘Groove on Up‘ was released in 2005.

Melvin Sparks – Texas Twister: