Melvin Sparks (1946-2011) - JazzWax

« JazzSnap: Marty Napoleon (c. '52) | Main | Happy Birthday Nat Cole »

March 16, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Frank Wess still sounds as good today (or at least recently) as he did on that clip. Another outstanding example of Sparks' guitar work is the Red Holloway/Plas Johnson album "Keep That Groove Going."


umm... your date of his death is wrong. He died Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at his Mt. Vernon, NY home. NOT on March 13.

Jackson Rushing

That's a good groove going there, thanks for this news. RIP

Allen Lowe

just to note that Sparks was much more then just a groovin' type of player - when I played with him in Bridgeport, Connecticut maybe 20 years ago, he rolled through one of the hottest versions of Cherokee I've ever heard, in classic hard-bop fashion. He played everything, from blues to changes, that night. An educated player in the deepest sense of the word.

Conrad Mason

I have Sparks album Spark Plug from i believe 71 or 72 great lp.

Melvin Sparks was my "gateway guitarist" that took me from soul/R&B to jazz in 1972. I regret that I missed my chance to meet him when he played in Brooklyn the summer before he passed away. He continues to inspire! -- Tony Flood

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

Contact me


Click the cover to pre-order my new book, due Nov. 1.

Subscribe Free

Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Search JazzWax

  • JazzWax

JazzWax Interviewed

WSJ Articles

JazzWax Interviews

Audio Note

  • Audio clips that appear below JazzWax posts support editorial content that links readers directly to Amazon and other third-party music retailers.

Marc Myers on Video

JATP Programs