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May 1998

Melvin Rhyne
Stick To The Kick
Criss Cross Jazz

There isn't much that needs to be said about organist Melvin Rhyne's Stick To The Kick: solid and smoking just about does it. On this quintet date, the legendary Wes Montgomery cohort expertly mixes well-hooked originals with chestnuts like "Laura" and Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird" and even throws in an eyebrow-singeing version of Bud Powell's seldom heard "Wail." His Monk Competition alumnae front line of trumpeter Ryan Kisor and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander often deliver remarkably earthy solos. Peter Bernstein and Kenny Washington prove once again they are among the most engaging guitar-drums teams currently working in organ units. Yet, this is Rhyne's date from start to finish, and his enveloping sound and cogent solos are the glue that hold the proceedings together. It's also refreshing to hear a jazz organ disc free of cheesy R&B covers (Rhyne is the rare Wisconsin export that is cheese-free); instead, Rhyne just emphasizes jazz fundamentals-maybe that's what he means by Stick To The Kick.

Originally published in May 1998
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