The Gloria Coleman Quartet: Soul Sisters (2004)
Gloria Coleman is about as obscure as it gets; she put out a pair of albums as a leader and that’s about it. As an organist, she’s clearly below greats like Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff; she can pound out a few chords and put together a decent solo, but lacks the inventiveness or energy of her fellow musicians. However, when you’ve stacked the deck with gifted improvisers like Grant Green and Leo Wright, you don’t have to do much more than keep the groove churning in the background and stay out of the way. Indeed, that’s what happens, and this 1963 recording is a fairly typical organ jazz album that has a couple of great soloists that raise the bar to make it worthy of attention. There isn’t anything innovative or creative, just a couple of solid ideas that have worked well in the past.
Green was always an eager participant on organ sessions, and his laid back riffing fits right at home once the groove gets going. Wright dazzles as well; a saxophonist who usually found work in other avenues, he adopts the soulful style appropriate to the setting and really digs in with some beautiful playing. The pair makes this album an unexpected treasure, and worth picking up. You won’t feel like you’ve made a discovery, but rather found an artist determined to record something you’ve heard before and always liked.
Track Listing: 1. Que Baby 2. Sadie Green 3. Hey Sonny Red 4. Melba
Personnel: Gloria Coleman