Album of the Week: Calvin Keys, Shawn-Neeq

Guitarist Calvin Keys’ debut outing as leader, Shawn-Neeq, was originally released in 1971 on Black Jazz Records and we have Real Gone Music to thank for a brand spanking new vinyl reissue.

If Calvin Keys is new to you, think Grant Green with a deeper groove and greater funk appeal. This is about as easy listening as ’70s jazz gets, breezy even, on tracks like the Key’s penned “Gee-Gee” but Keys and Co. always find a groove, always turn some unexpected corner, to reveal the pure joy of creation. Dig it, baby.

The lineup features Calvin Keys on guitar, Larry Nash on electric piano, Lawrence Evans on bass, and Bob Braye on drums with Owen Marshall adding flute and ‘hose-a-phone’ to a few tracks. The band, all sought after sidemen, is at once tight and loose in that 70s out of sight kinda way and I fell for Shawn-Neeq after hearing the first few opening bars of opener “Be”. I’m down with what these cats were layin’ down.

If you’re a fan of 70s guitar-heavy music that doesn’t fall off the funk path into pyro-noodling, try chillin’ with Calvin Keys and Shawn-Neeq.

Shawn-Neeq is available on vinyl from Real Gone Records.