Dennis Coffey

Dennis Coffey

Dennis Coffey

Hot Coffey In The D

Resonance Records

Now this is a treat. The name Dennis Coffey might not be as well-known as other guitarists from the ’60s, but that’s not because of lack of talent, as this live recording from a nightclub in Detroit from 1968 shows. Coffey was one of the Funk Brothers, playing on dozens of Motown hits such as “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne, “War” by Edwin Starr and numerous Temptations cuts. He was (and still is) a badass guitarist.

Hot Coffey In The D captures Coffey with a trio consisting of Lyman Woodard on the Hammond B-3 and Melvin Davis on drums, getting funky with some primo soul-jazz, ala the great Jimmy Smith and Kenny Burrell classics such as Back at the Chicken Shack. The trio format gives all a chance to spread out, and Coffey is the featured soloist on most of the cuts, which range from originals such as “The Big D” and “Fuzz” to hits of the day including “The Look of Love” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and a blistering take on Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”. Coffey’s Birdland guitar sound is fat, and his melodic lines show his fertile musical imagination- the trio sounds as if they could play all night.

Dennis Coffey still plays guitar in Detroit clubs, and added his funky, hard sound to the new Andre Williams release I Wanna Go Back to Detroit City. If your tastes run to the cool, funky sound of Ramsey Lewis, “Brother” Jack McDuff and Lonnie Smith, then Hot Coffey In The D will surely delight, and will hopefully hip some ears to one of the masters, Dennis Coffey.

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