From the opening note of Chip Shelton’s newest release, Imbued With Memories, one is flooded with masterful tributes, like the one to Joe Henderson on "Recordame," the Latin-tinged piece that conjures up the images and exotic ambience that is Brazil. From there, his mission was clear to me, and it became just a matter of settling back to enjoy another of this multi-talented flutist/saxman’s gems.
In addition to "Recordame," Shelton and his band embark on a journey with mellow pieces like the title track, one that Shelton’s flute causes to drip with sensuality and poise. He is equally magnificent in his bluesier traditional style with tunes like "Cliff Notes," a flawless little number with plenty of bite. Some tasteful funk intermingled with good solid smooth jazz shows up to pay a visit on "Crystal’s Nick Nack," an obvious nod to the Jimmy Smith style of organ action. The classic Duke Ellington "It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)" gets a pronounced reggae twist with Shelton’s flute confidently leading the way. The up-tempo bluesy "Salt Rhythm" is clearly the Jimmy Smith Trio reborn, and the rhythmic "MLK," complete with the classy vocals of Jann Parker, should truly draw praise from the King family and friends alike.
You can tell by the quality of some material that an artist or group truly "stayed up late" to ensure the sweetness and polish on a particular project. Shelton must have seen many a sleepless night working on this one, and it clearly shows.