Guitarist/keyboardist Doc Powell pays homage to his roots by way of 97th & Columbus, the site of Mikells, a popular Manhattan jazz club that during its '80s heyday was the obligatory stomping grou

Guitarist/keyboardist Doc Powell pays homage to his roots by way of 97th & Columbus, the site of Mikells, a popular Manhattan jazz club that during its '80s heyday was the obligatory stomping ground for established and aspiring acts from Art Blakey to Chaka Khan. Not to mention Powell himself, best-known for his session/tour gigs with Luther Vandross. On his seventh studio album—and first for Heads Up—Powell doesn't stray radically from his R&B-infused smooth-jazz stylings (covers of such classics as Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and George Benson's "Breezin' "). To get the best feel for Powell's dextrous talent, composing/arranging skills, and musical versatility, check out original tunes like the jam-session-vibed title track and "Ode to Chet," his soothing tribute to fellow session guitarist Chet Atkins.—GM

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