Last year•s Modern Answers to Old Problems found ska and reggae guitar master Ernest Ranglin tackling his other great love, jazz, and featured some nice African textures that really set it apart. With Gotcha!, though, he wanders back to more familiar territory, with songs that focus on reggae and ska bases. But the jazzier instrumentation is there, too — the sound is a bit cleaner than your average ska record, and the production is downright crystalline. As usual, Ranglin•s phenomenal guitar takes center stage, and his performances are never less than mind-bogglingly good, his fingers cascading over the strings as quickly and delicately as a stream over a gentle falls. Solid work from his backing combo, especially saxophonist Antonio Hart, completes the picture, making this album an absolute pleasure. If the lack of ska grooves on Modern Answers kept you away, now•s the time to come back. And if you fell for the straight-up jazz of that album, everything you liked about it is still here, too. Ranglin is nothing less than a treasure, and this record is worth its weight in gold.
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