May 2002

Reuben Wilson
Organ Blues

One of the bluesiest of the organ elders still active on the scene, Reuben Wilson lays out an earthy program of groovers on Organ Blues (Jazzateria 20309-2; 56:25). With Bernard Purdie providing the rock-steady backbeat, Grant Green Jr. echoing some of his daddy's hip guitar lines and Melvin Butler adding soulful tenor sax, Wilson wails with real-deal authority on the shuffle "Blues for McDuff," on the slow blues "After Hours" and on a midtempo rendition of the Percy Mayfield classic "Please Send Me Someone to Love." His "Old Time Shuffle Blues" is strictly old school-an ebullient, good-time groove paced by Purdie's inimitable shuffle beat-and he gets knee-deep in the funk on Jimmy Smith's "Back at the Chicken Shack." There's more upbeat toe-tappin' on his version of the R&B classic "Honey Dripper," then Wilson and company conjure up a late-night atmosphere on their sensual reading of "Willow Weep for Me." The collection closes on an up note with a bouncing, jaunty shuffle take on James Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," featuring some of Wilson's most dynamic testifying on the B-3. After 40 years of doin' it to death, Wilson still conveys an infectious spirit of joy in his playing, which is in great supply on Organ Blues.

Originally published in May 2002

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