DR. DAVE (Hatherill) is an American smooth-jazz guitarist who actually has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. However, after hearing George Benson’s ‘Breezin’’, the jazz guitar took precedence over studies and consultations. The good doctor  debuted on record back in 1994 with the album, ‘I Like It Like That’. Now with a nine album catalogue under his guitar strap, Dave  has decided the time is right to revisit one of his previous long players, 2014’s ‘Carefree’. He says: “I made it back in 2014 – 2015…but I wasn’t completely satisfied. I did release two songs from it and then shelved it.” Then he cut a tune with the Housecall Band (Cecil McBee, Jr. on bass; Rob Whitlock on keyboard; Larry Logan on keyboard; Kevin Flournoy on keyboard; Ronnie Stewart on drums; Duncan Moore on drums; Tommy Aros on percussion; John Rekevics on sax and flute; Steve Wilcox on guitar; Hank Easton on rhythm guitar and  Bill Harris on marimba;). That track, ‘Midnight Daydream’, was so mutually satisfying that Dave decided to let the band loose on ‘Carefree’ and consequently, ‘Carefree Revisited’ will be with us in March.

The 11 tracker is classic guitar-led smooth jazz embellished with the band’s colourful flourishes. Much of the material is laid back and gentle – try the title track  and ‘Almost Trinidad’. But those lazier items are interspersed with tougher, bigger sounds like the swinging, bluesy ‘Heck No’ and ‘Late Night With Dr. Dave.’

The real intrigue here though comes via the covers. First up there’s a take on the Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ with Dave’s strong and emotive guitar lines replacing Lennon’s gritty vocals. Sonically it reminds me of that famous Booker T and the MGs’ album ‘McLemore Avenue’ – their version of the ‘Abbey Road’ LP. Then there’s Dave’s version of Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’- again the familiar melody led by Dave’s fluid guitar. The third cover is the most intriguing – a re-work of Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry be Happy’. Here Dave and the boys offer a hybrid of Hammond-led soul jazz and reggae with occasional scat vocal interjections from Nacho Sobres. Interesting!

Dr Dave’s ‘Carefree Revisited’ is released on March 4th via Hatherhill Records

(BB) 3/5