Boston guitarist Stubbs gets his groove on in these 11 instrumentals — all flashbacks to the '60s, when guys like Freddie King, on the blues tip, and organists Richard Holmes and Big John Patton, who had the jazz side nailed down, made brainy soulful music for the dance floor.
The title track, the truth-in-advertising "Funky Head," and the brawny "Stubzilla" are all built around Stubbs's sturdy riffs and slick picking, with some help from fellow groove-fiend producer "Sax" Gordon Beadle. This solo debut is a departure from Stubbs's regular gig playing guitar for blues great Charlie Musselwhite. It's more swinging uptown than Delta and Chicago lowdown, with the drive of early rock and the twang of surf music blended in.
One quibble: the musical menu could benefit from a wider variety of guitar sounds. But with such a rich smorgasbord of twangy, purring, swinging, and elegant tunes all concisely arranged (the longest is 4:21), that is just a quibble. Soul Bender goes down smooth as a Cosmopolitan — shaken, not stirred.
MATTHEW STUBBS AND "SAX" GORDON BEADLE | Johnny D's, 17 Holland St, Somerville | January 30 at 9:45 pm |www.johnnyds.com