Doc Powell,
Cool Like That
(Heads Up, 2004)

Cool Like That, another masterpiece from Doc Powell, starts off with a simple, atmospheric chill-out tune spiced by Powell's mild guitar and featuring Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum. The title track, which follows, kicks in with a heavy "snap your fingers" groove -- it's not too complex but yet is still captivating and interesting to listen to.

Actually, the album title describes its content the best. If Miles Davis played cool decades ago, then this is the cool of the modern era. Now, however, they call it easy listening.

"My goal is simple this time," says Powell. "Just make a groove-oriented record that people could snap their fingers to. The title track was the first song I worked on and it sets the tone for the entire album."

Really ... the tone is quite persistent although a bit too often strides into the pop-music genre. On this album, Powell tries to be sweet -- all those fancy string sections and melodic riffs can get a bit annoying. However, his exceptional and captivating guitar tone is best exposed with original compositions.

Cool Like That also includes two arrangements of the famous "Let It Be," but the problem is that they aren't anything special. The second one, featuring singer T.C. Bereal, sounds especially cliche, although Powell has quite visibly tried to stick a more urban tinge to it.

The listener will soon understand that Cool Like That is not an album one has to intensively focus on -- you can listen to it after a hard day at work and Powell will not tire you out. However, if you're looking for excitement, then -- except for the title tune and perhaps one or two more tracks -- you've come to the wrong place. Still, you have to give him credit for all those catchy grooves!

by Ester Eggert
29 July 2006

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