Session guitarist Melvin Sparks died March 13 at his home in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He was 64 and battled diabetes and high blood pressure. Sparks got his first guitar at age 11 and, as a teen, worked in R&B bands in his hometown of Houston, including a stint in the Upsetters, a group founded by Little Richard. He later moved to New York and worked as a session player for the jazz labels Blue Note and Prestige, where he played sessions for several noted artists. He later released three solo album, on Prestige, and eventually, 10 albums as a bandleader, concluding with Groove on Up in 2005. Sparks is survived by his wife, four daughters, a son, and 13 grandchildren.