Reuben Wilson’s blues band settles in nice and cozy. It’s a celebration! Nods to Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff fit appropriately into a session of traditional good time blues. Melvin Butler lends a soulful persona that stands patiently in the shadow of the late Eddie Harris. Grant Green, Jr. and leader Reuben Wilson recall the great organ-guitar combinations jazz has espoused. Bernard Purdie drives the band with seasoned veteran chops.
Wilson’s career began 40 years ago in Los Angeles, playing the Hammond B-3 organ in straight-ahead jazz and blues venues. Tuesday nights at the Intermission Room held fast as his steady gig. The organist moved to New York and worked through the late ‘60s with mainstream artists such as Grant Green, Roy Haynes and Willis “Gatortail” Jackson. As a soul-jazz pioneer, Wilson evolved. His discography never strayed too far from the blues. When Us3, Tribe Called Qwest and Nas sampled Wilson’s recordings, it brought about significant changes in the jazz world. Acid jazz has grown steadily for the past 13 years. The music has grown in many directions, but the roots are always there – jazz and blues roots.
Tellin’ stories, Wilson’s quartet takes this session slow and hot. Saxophone, organ and guitar take turns with the interpretation. Like cocoa butter on a burn, their cohesive session serves to assuage. Highly recommended, Wilson’s session brings timeless reminders to the party for everyone to share.